4 hurt, traffic snarled in midtown tanker spill

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Four people were hospitalized and traffic on two midtown Manhattan blocks was brought to a standstill Tuesday morning after a tanker spilled 50 gallons of heating oil onto the street.

About 8:12 a.m., the tanker was pumping oil into an apartment building on Seventh Avenue between 36th and 37th streets when oil spilled as far as 35th Street before hazmat crews arrived. FDNY and NYPD crews worked throughout the morning to clean up the spill, halting rush-hour traffic.

When the hose was being disconnected from the fill line, oil sprayed out and hit the driver in the face, according to Lisa King, spokeswoman for the state Department of Environmental Conservation.

The driver and three pedestrians, who got the oil on their bodies, were taken to Bellevue Hospital Center to be decontaminated, a fire department spokesman said.

Brooklyn-based Marathon Energy, the oil company, said in a statement that the leak was caused by a blocked oil vent in the building.

No citation was expected to be issued, according to the DEC.

"The DEC has already determined that the professional driver delivering the oil was not at fault and that Marathon Energy will not be issued a citation," the company said in a statement.

Some oil spilled into the subway, causing two No. 1 trains to run express between Chambers Street and Times Square, an MTA spokeswoman said.

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