Neighbors Edith Simpson and Geoff Brougham are worried about damage caused to their property in Heddon-on-the-Wall
AIRPORT bosses have launched an investigation after residents claimed a plane dumped fuel on their street.
Stunned homeowners in Heddon-on-the-Wall, in Northumberland, believe a passing aircraft dropped highly flammable liquid on their gardens and drives as it flew over their houses.
The potent, sticky substance, thought to be kerosene, covered three drives, lawns and around 80ft of Aquila Drive yesterday morning.
The council were called out to clean up the mess but locals said they could still smell it hours later.
Residents were today warned not to touch areas believed to be contaminated with the fuel and not to eat any garden produce.
Airport chiefs and the Civil Aviation Authority have now launched separate investigations to determine how the substance came to cover such a large area of the street.
But angry residents have said there can only be one explanation as to how the fuel got there.
Grandma-of-one Edith Simpson, 72, said: “It was everywhere, I couldn’t believe it.
“It has to have come from a plane – there is no other explanation.
“I’ve just had a load of bricks delivered and they have a plastic sheet over them and there was fuel all over the top of the plastic sheet.
“I just think it’s awful and extremely dangerous. There is a primary school just literally down the road, what would have happened if it landed on the kids when they were out playing?
“It has to be fuel because you can smell it. I ran my hands over the grass on my lawn and it was sticky. You could smell fuel on my hands afterwards. I’ve just spent £1,300 to lay two new lawns and the fuel will ruin them.
“I have an eight-year-old granddaughter who I look after through the school holidays. It doesn’t bear thinking about if she’d been over and playing outside
According to the CAA, planes only dump fuel in an emergency situation when they have to land suddenly and need to shed weight.
In an event when a plane does need to dump fuel, the airline normally has 96 hours to report it to the CAA under the Mandatory Occurrence Reporting Scheme.
Bosses at Newcastle International Airport today confirmed that an investigation had been launched.
Larry Heslop, operations director at Newcastle International Airport, said: “We were alerted by residents of Heddon-on-the-Wall this afternoon of a possible aviation fuel issue in the area. The airport team is investigating these reports and have contacted several airlines to inquire if they have knowledge of the issue. It is too early to provide further information at the moment.”
The Highways Team at Northumberland County Council was called out to clear up as much of the liquid as possible and make the area safe.
They are now working with the Health Protection Agency and the Environment Agency to ensure the safety of those living on the street.
Victoria Barrington, head of public protection at Northumberland County Council, said: “We were alerted by a resident of Heddon-on-the-Wall of a possible aviation fuel issue in the area.
“The county council’s neighbourhood services officers gritted Aquila Drive, the road affected, to ensure it was safe for drivers passing along it. Officers from the county council’s public protection team are working with the Health Protection Agency and the Environment Agency to ensure protection of the public and environment.
“The Civil Aviation Authority has been notified of the incident and will conduct its own investigation.
“Residents in Heddon are advised not to touch anything that they believe may have been contaminated with fuel, not to eat any garden produce that may have been affected by the spill and to allow the substance to evaporate rather than wash it away.”