PAWCATUCK — Firefighters and the Stonington police diverted traffic from a section of Mechanic Street Thursday night because of a strong odor that smelled like natural gas but was emanating from spilled gear case oil.

Pawcatuck Fire Chief Kevin Burns said that from 9:12 to 11:30 p.m., officials diverted traffic from Mechanic Street, starting at the West Broad Street intersection and extending to Mitchell Street, which is south of the Cherenzia Building.

About 5 gallons of used gear case oil had spilled from a bucket in the back of a pickup truck at 71 Mechanic St., Burns said.

Used gear case oil has a similar smell to natural gas, he said. He said his crew cleaned the spilled oil from the back of the truck and the driveway.

“The oil needed to be disposed of properly but it wasn’t,” Burns said.

Stonington’s landfill accepts waste oil for recycling, according to the town website.

 chewitt@westerlysun.com

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