MIAMI (WSVN) - Officials are investigating a man accused of improperly transporting gas that ended up spilling out at a Miami gas station.
Concerned residents called police after seeing gas spill out at the Shell gas station along Northwest 20th Street and 17th Avenue in fear of an explosive emergency.
Police arrested 34-year-old Osvaldo Pelaez after officials found a tank filled with hundreds of gallons of gas inside his truck, at around 12 p.m., Tuesday.
Crews appeared to be draining that tank as a precaution. Officials said this situation could have been deadly.
“It’s basically a rolling bomb,” said Miami Fire Rescue spokesperson Ignatius Carroll. “Luckily for the employees here that noticed something wrong.”
According to firefighters, a gas station employee called 911 because he noticed that gas was leaking but didn’t know from where. They said the driver of the air conditioning truck was acting suspicious, so they asked him to open his truck, where they found the tank. The tank can hold about 275 gallons but was a little more than halfway full of gas.
Palaez was detained and later arrested for improperly transporting gas. Police said the suspect used a counterfeit credit card to fill up at the station. He was out on bond for grand theft, and police said the van was in his name.
Officials called the van a bomb on wheels, and it wouldn’t have taken much for this to cause a catastrophe.
“Had his vehicle gotten into an accident, with that amount of gasoline inside of it and some kind of ignition source, we could have had a huge explosion here and a lot of lives lost,” said Carroll.
Fire officials thanked the employee who spoke up after seeing something suspicious to avoid a deadly situation.
Palaez now faces charges for credit card fraud and transporting hazardous material.
Officials are now investigating to see if the van is actually connected to the air conditioning company.
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