Houghton County’s Portage Canal will be closed to the public due to a fuel tanker spill Thursday morning.

The tanker overturned on Santori’s Corner in Hancock.  Some of the fuel that leaked from the vehicle went into the storm drain that releases into the canal. 

Health officials are concerned about people coming into physical contact with benzine. Inhaling it could also be dangerous. 

Emergency personnel have already temporarily evacuated residents who live near the spill. 

The Western Upper Peninsula Health Department (WUPHD) is working with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and
Energy (EGLE). 

WUPHD is encouraging the public to avoid the area of the spill site. 

“People and pets should avoid direct body contact and avoid swallowing lake water in the vicinity,  especially if fuel is visible on the surface,” a WUPHD release states. “This is an ongoing emergency situation.”