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August 19, 2014 • Headlines

His4Life youth group members went hiking in the mountains and wading through the creek at the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
Clean up continues this week with Midwest Environmental Service at the Marathon Gas Station in Versailles.
They were digging and installing a temporary well for the contaminant water.

Members of His4Life youth group didn’t know where they were heading but ended up at the Great Smoky Mountains National Park this summer.
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$82,248 ambulance
Grants fund new EMS truck

Mary Mattingly

Ripley County Rescue 69 is now better equipped to save lives and provide immediate health care and rescue. Thanks to several area and local grants, a new ambulance was purchased and is now in operation to help provide advanced level life support service.

Rescue 69 ambulance


Pictured left, Jamie Vest, Rescue 69 assistant chief, and Chief Charley Cozart show off the new ambulance with donors listed on the truck door.

Charley Cozart, chief of Rescue 69, said this new truck allows them to retire their 1994 backup ambulance. The 2005 ambulance, with over 220,000 miles, will now serve as backup. The ambulance is refurbished with a new chassis, LED lighting, electronics, and more. The 24/7 EMS service averages three runs a day, which amounts to about 1100 runs a year, according to Cozart. Rescue 69 covers 55 percent of Ripley County, with the exception of Batesville, Milan and Sunman.

“This ambulance is definitely needed! We were not sure how much longer the other would last, and there were costly and regular maintenance issues we were dealing with,” Cozart said.

The $82,248 ambulance with blue lettering is funded by grants from Rising Sun Regional Foundation, Tyson Fund, Ripley County Community Foundation and Golda and Gilmore Reynolds Foundation. Cozart said the grants ultimately provide a huge impact to the squad and community

“I know these foundations want to give to a worthy cause but it’s not just a huge impact to Rescue 69 employees, but to the public so we can provide quality health care and a safe dependable ride to the hospitals,” Cozart said. “By supporting us, they are supporting the county.”

An appreciation dinner was held at the Rescue 69 building to recognize the grantors on July 30. They were also invited to see the new ambulance truck first-hand. Rescue 69 will continue to apply for grants to upgrade equipment.

IDEM: Fuel leak wasn’t public threat

Mary Mattingly

The fuel leak in Versailles discovered Sunday, Aug. 10 was never a threat to the public. Barry Sneed, Indiana Department of Environmental Management’s public relations officer, told Ripley Publishing Monday: “We take this very seriously, and do not want to alarm the public needlessly. If there was a risk, there would be an evacuation,” he said. “We don’t want to move people from their residences without good reason. We always err on the side of caution.”

He reported the Versailles Fire Department found no criteria on the evening of the discovery Aug. 10 that would prompt general public notification. Lower explosion lines were tested in the storm sewers by the fire department, and dangerous LEL levels were never reached. Sneed said the leaking gasoline traveled to the ground water before flowing to the storm sewer and eventually reached the intermittent creek. Ripley County EMA also reported inquiries were made with nearby homeowners to see if gasoline vapors were reaching homes and found none, according to Sneed.

Ben Sieverding, Versailles fire chief and who was incident commander, told the Versailles Town Council Thursday, he was “ very relieved” when he learned it did not affect the water.

As of Thursday evening, Versailles Fire Department already had 300 man-hours into containing the fuel leak at the Marathon gas station. It started Sunday evening when a resident called in a report of a gas odor. The gas pumps were shut down all week as IDEM investigated and called in environmental and equipment contractors for clean up and repair.

Sieverding reported, “The fire department already has $5,000 in it for absorbent materials.” When asked who pays for that, he replied, “We hope to recoup it from the owner,” Sieverding told the council. The socks or booms used at the four sources serve like sponges to absorb the fuel.

Staff from IDEM’s Underground Storage Tank Program has requested copies of the station’s inventory logs to determine the quantity leaked. Last week, they estimated it to be around 300 gallons of fuel. Leaking was detected in a riser line to a dispenser, Sneed said. The owner of the Marathon station, Qurben Singh, reported to the state Monday morning the diesel and premium systems have passed pressure testing. More work and testing was conducted Monday afternoon. Something in the regular gas system appears to be leaking as well, according to the report.

The department was called out again Thursday when digging at the station began due to the amount of vapors. The turn lane was closed for safety reasons, and firefighters remained on the scene throughout the night. He thanked Town of Versailles utility manager Kevin Hensley for providing the town’s storm water maps.

IDEM was in Versailles daily last week and early this week. Sieverding commented, “It may not be unusual to have a fuel leak, but it’s the first time I know of this volume in the area.” Patrick Rose, county EMA director, was also at the council meeting and reported there is no way to speed up the environmental investigation.

Midwest Environmental Services has been contracted for clean up and equipment replacement. Clean up or repair work could be several weeks. A pipe was replaced last week, and an area dug out below for a temporary well. Paul Singh, who works at the station, said the food mart continues to be open 24/7, but thought it could be a few days before the gas pumps are open. He said the Shell station, which they also own, has been busier as a result. Fuel is a big percentage of their sales, he said.

Pick up this week's edition of the Osgood Journal for the stories below and more local news. Subscribe by clicking the subscribe link or call 812-689-6364.

• Career Center to hold open house Wednesday (page 3)
• His4Life youth group: Youth group learns more than trust on summer trip
• Three arrested for battery and robbery on river (Regional Wrap-Up, page 7)

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