Kitty litter saves the day in oily Fillmore Avenue spill

Sep 9, 2016

Fillmore Avenue travelers Thursday were dealing with a fine dust on the street, with some probably wondering what it is. The answer: kitty litter.

If you are wondering why kitty litter was all the street, it is because someone in a car or truck spilled something on the street along Fillmore from Main to Broadway, three-miles of a heavily traveled city street and the Fire Department was called in to do something about it.  Whitfield says it may have been hydraulic fluid, but he is not sure.
"It's not something, obviously, for human ingestion and anything like that, so it is a hazardous material," said Buffalo Fire Commissioner Garnell Whitfield. "It is an oil, oil-based thing so obviously it's a hazard, but especially on the streets of the City of Buffalo or any streets anywhere where it would cause accidents and lend itself to a person losing control of their vehicle."

Firefighters on the scene worked with the Environmental Conservation Department to put down the kitty litter to absorb the liquid.

"We're not absolutely 100% sure what it was, but we do believe that it was from a vehicle and it was very slippery," Whitfield said. "One of the concerns was that if it had rained, it would have exacerbated that situation. So at this time we have picked up from that scene. We believe it to be safe at this time."

Whitfield said the spilled liquid could have created problems for drivers and might have spilled into the city's sewer system. The commissioner says his firefighters are called in all of the time for spills, which are usually from things like traffic accidents - although this was a little unusual because the source is not clear and it was spilled for such a long stretch of city street.