Two arrested in theft, hazmat spill

Nov. 9, 2011 at 7:49 PM
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ENFIELD, Conn., Nov. 9 (UPI) -- Two men face charges they stole a Connecticut power company transformer that leaked a toxic chemical, forcing a hazardous materials crew to clean up the mess.

Robert Simmons, 46, and Richard Simmons, both of Enfield, allegedly admitted stealing the transformer, which they say they found on the ground Tuesday where it had fallen during an Oct. 29 storm, the Hartford (Conn.) Courant reported Wednesday. The men said they intended to sell the transformer as scrap metal.

The two were spotted driving with the equipment in the back of their truck by a Connecticut Light & Power crew who then called police, said Dennis Schain, a state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection spokesman. The men were arrested and released with a court date scheduled this month.

About 5 to 10 gallons of oil with polychlorinated biphenyl, or PCB, was leaked onto the road, the men's clothing and their truck, Schain said. The carcinogen is dangerous after long-term exposure or ingestion.

A private firm was hired to clean up the oil spill and decontaminate the men's truck, clothing, road and the patrol cars that transported the men.

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