Delta Airlines Fuel Release

On Tuesday,  January 14, 2020, at approximately 12:10pm, South Gate Police Department became aware of a strong odor of fuel surrounding the Police Department and Civic Center area. As personnel checked for the source of the odor, a fine mist of liquid was seen and felt falling from the sky. SGPD Dispatch confirmed with the LA Co Fire Department that they responded to a schools in South Gate and Cudahy regarding possible airplane/jet fuel which had fallen from a passing plane and landed on the school, students, and staff.
LA Co. Fire dispatched personnel and Haz-Mat teams to the area of Cudahy and South Gate. South Gate Police Dispatch received several calls from residents inquiring about the smell, but did not receive any emergency aid or rescue calls as a result of the fuel dump. Preliminary information gathered by SGPD and LA Co. Fire is that a passing commercial airline dumped fuel as it passed over the areas of Bell, Cudahy, Bell Gardens, and South Gate while en-route to LAX. This event will be investigated by the airline and the FAA. The South Gate Emergency Services Coordinator made notification to the Area E Mutual Aid group and notifications were made to all Area E Cities.

UPDATE - 2/18/20


The City of South Gate is working on getting answers for its community to bring resolution and justice in the aftermath of the January 14th Delta Air Lines jet fuel release that covered the City of South Gate and surrounding communities’ residents, homes and schools.  The City is currently waiting on updates from the FAA, LA Public Health, and Delta Airlines in order to address concerns raised by the community at its last Community Forum Meeting in South Gate. The City will release another announcement as soon as it gets further information from these agencies.

Frequently Asked Questions Regarding the Jet Fuel Release Incident



Is there a way to find out the altitude that the plane was flying at? Who would be the best point of contact to get the information from the FAA? 

This question is pending FAA investigation. 


In terms of the reimbursements, will we need to have them done all at once? Are people being asked to sign nondisclosure agreements when they submit these? Are we going to be reimbursed for our time? 

This question is pending FAA investigation. 


Was the Huntington Park mobile lab operational? My understanding was there was a mobile lab monitoring activity.

The Park was just selected for Year 2 for AB 617.  Please visit http://www.aqmd.gov/ for more information.


Who’s keeping track of how many people are affected? What are the chances that information will be publicly disclosed if we were to call Delta and tell them how we were affected? 

LA Public Health, AltaMed, and Delta Airlines are keeping track of how many people are affected. 


Regarding the NOV that the AQMD filed, have there been similar violations where airplanes have dumped fuel at such low altitudes, and what has been the outcome? Did the penalties deter the airline from doing that again?

The AQMD is not aware of any other NOV’s being filed in the area.  Please visit http://www.aqmd.gov/ for more information.


Who is going to come test the soil at our gardens?

Once the full scope of the fuel dump is assessed,  whether soil testing is necessary or not will be decided.  However, the produce involved directly in the incident should be thrown out, for the safety of everyone.  Please visit http://publichealth.lacounty.gov/ and https://www.lafd.org/ for more information. 


If i’m a resident of this community, and 8 or 9 years from now i’m having a health problem, how do I know it’s because of this exposure or it’s something else? What is the effort going to be to longitudinally follow the community that was involved and do you believe the Los Angeles County of Public Health can manage that? Do we need a bigger organization to take over, like the federal government? 

General surveillance of people’s health is done, but not longitudinal. We need pertinent data about the scope of the fuel dump in order to determine what the long-term impact might be. Please visit http://publichealth.lacounty.gov/ for more information.


I don’t have any confidence in the equipment that’s being used to test for pathogens in the schools.   What kind of soil samples are you doing? What are the specifics? 

As of now, the city isn’t aware of any soil sampling.  Please visit http://publichealth.lacounty.gov/ or http://www.aqmd.gov/ for more information. 


Since a lot of people are affected here, is the city going to file a lawsuit to represent us against Delta? 

If you believe you have been injured due to this incident, you can file a lawsuit for damages.  You can also file a claim directly against Delta Airlines. Please consult with a lawyer for more information. 


What guarantees do we have that the soil that’s embedded with our fruit trees is not going to be contaminating the new fruit that grows? 

Once we understand the full scope of the spill, we will be able to assess this. Please visit http://publichealth.lacounty.gov/ for more information. 


My son was outside eating when the fuel dump occurred. There could have been a chance that he consumed even a pellet of those carcinogens.  How am I supposed to know my son and all of the other students outside eating are going to be okay and not at risk?

Please see a doctor.  Visit AltaMed urgent care for immediate assistance.

For more information click on the resources below:

Delta Statement

FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) English Statement , Spanish Statement

LA County Public Health

LA Fire Hazmat

LAUSD 

Video from Special City Council Meeting 1/25/20