Update: On Nov. 9, the city of Palo Alto said additional sampling is required to determine the extent of cleanup. The area is now covered to protect the soil from rain.
For the second time in three weeks, the Palo Alto Fire Department on Thursday afternoon responded to a hazardous materials spill at the VA Palo Alto Healthcare System, Battalion Chief Shane Yarbrough said.
Multiple units, including three engines, went to the VA Hospital at 3801 Miranda Ave. in Palo Alto at about 2:53 p.m. VA staff were testing generators in an outbuilding when a fuel line broke, spilling diesel fuel, Yarbrough said. About 95% of the fuel remained within the containment container and a small amount leaked outside the structure onto soil.
A city of Palo Alto online notification stated that 20 to 40 gallons spilled inside the generator cabinet. The Palo Alto Fire Department is investigating the incident, which closed out the initial call after about an hour.
Yarbrough said the Fire Department tested the soil, and the contaminated area was cleaned up.
"There was no plume into the creek, and none of the diesel went into the storm drain," he said.
Thursday's incident is the second at the VA in less than three weeks. About 50 to 100 gallons of diesel spilled from a storage tank on Oct. 14.
That incident was preceded by a spill on May 6, 2021, which contaminated at least a 600-foot section of Matadero Creek and required months of cleanup and oversight.
Additional updates will be provided as more details are available.