Botched Theft Creates Huge Hazmat Spill

RIVERSIDE, CA – A bungled metal theft accidentally spilled hundreds of gallons of hydraulic fluid at a Riverside recycling center, city fire officials say.

The mess was reported at 8:45 a.m. Thursday, July 23, along the 2900 block of Sixth Street.

Officials told SUN News that the now-closed metal recycling center has been victim to several theft attempts over the past few years.

At the center of the overnight leak is a metal-shearing machine that cuts scrap metal into manageable-sized pieces. The device has a cooling system that includes a gasoline engine and two radiators.

Last week, someone stole the larger of the two radiators, workers reported. An attempt to steal the remaining radiator went badly, causing the leak.

Perpetrators disconnected the large hydraulic lines, which were fed by a 500-gallon hydraulic reservoir, spilling its entire contents onto the dirt lot surrounding the machine, according to authorities. Due to the size of the second radiator, the…suspects were unable to remove it completely from its frame.

No one was hurt, but the cleanup may take several days.