Oil dumped in Freeport basement

An oil delivery left the basement floor of An oil delivery left the basement floor of Lance Leach's Freeport home coated with 75 gallons of oil. (Jan. 28, 2010) Photo Credit: 1010 WINS photo

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When Lance Leach got home from work Tuesday afternoon, he learned he had just received a heating oil delivery.

The problem is Leach converted his heating system to natural gas more than a year ago.

The delivery left the basement floor of his Freeport home coated with 75 gallons of oil.

"I used to deal with this company, but I haven't had a delivery from them in more than a year," Leach said. "I don't know how it happened."

Leach, 41, a sheet metal worker with Local 28 in Mineola, said he called the fuel company, O'Connor Brothers Fuel in Freeport, which sent over a remediation company to clean up the oil.

Mike O'Connor, one of the owners, said the crew was dispatched immediately. He declined to comment further.

Leach said the cleanup company left high-efficiency, particulate-absorbing filters in an attempt to remove the oil smell. But his home on Lessing Place still reeks, Leach said. He, his wife, two sons and a 91-year-old family member are staying in a hotel.

Kevin Rooney, chief executive of the Oil Heat Institute of Long Island, a Hauppauge-based trade group, said such mix-ups happen about a half-dozen times a year on Long Island.

Rooney said that when heating systems are converted, state building codes require the fill and vent pipes on residential oil tanks to be permanently sealed or removed.

Usually, that action is the responsibility of the homeowner, Rooney said. "If that had happened here, there would not have been an accident," he said.

An adjuster for Leach's homeowner's insurance policy inspected the home Wednesday and was to get back with Leach soon, Leach said.

"We're in the hotel, just waiting to see what the insurance companies will now do," Leach said. "We can't stay in the house."

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