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Cooking oil slick chaos in Muswell Hill

PUBLISHED: 17:48 10 April 2008 | UPDATED: 14:57 07 September 2010

PEDESTRIANS slipped, a cyclist fell off his bike and two cars collided after a freak spillage of cooking oil in Muswell Hill. Maureen Hajdu was crossing St James's Lane en route to her pilates class at around 2pm on Monday

Charlotte Newton

PEDESTRIANS slipped, a cyclist fell off his bike and two cars collided after a freak spillage of cooking oil in Muswell Hill.

Maureen Hajdu was crossing St James's Lane en route to her pilates class at around 2pm on Monday, when she noticed a wide dark patch running down the middle of the road. Presuming it was water, she crossed the road, but slipped and landed flat on her back.

"I was covered from head to toe and soaked from outside my clothes right through to my skin, in oil. It was absolutely ghastly.

"A gentleman had to help me across the road because I was shaking so much and my shoulder was throbbing."

Mrs Hajdu, of Springwood Avenue, added: "It must have been cooking oil because my clothes have been ruined and I still smell like a fish and chip shop."

Her pilates teacher, Karen Smith, telephoned Haringey Council at 2pm to inform them of the spillage. She telephoned again at 3.30pm, but still no one attended the scene.

At 4.30pm two cars collided, after skidding in the oil. A cyclist also slipped in the spillage and fell off his bike.

Residents then called the police and Sergeant Paul Saunders of the Safer Neighbourhoods Team closed off St Jame's Lane and Ellington Road. Two fire engines from Hornsey sprinkled sand on the road.

Sgt Saunders of the Muswell Hill Safer Neighbourhoods Team, said: "I went to St James's Lane at 4.45pm after reports of an oil spillage. There was cooking oil all over the road, so we closed it.

"The fire brigade turned up at the same time and put sand down. We re-opened the road at 6.30pm."

An officer from the council finally turned up at 5.45pm, infuriating residents who had telephoned earlier.

Valdet Palmer who lives in St James's Lane said: "I called the council six times to tell them that there was an oil slick in the road and that pedestrians were slipping and cars were sliding, but they just didn't do anything.

"An officer finally turned up at 5.45pm, with a clipboard in his hand and a mobile phone - after the fire brigade and police had done everything."

Mrs Palmer, 46, added: "What am I paying my council tax for? I told them someone was going to get hurt because there was oil on the road and still they did nothing."

However, a council spokesman said: "The council, police, fire brigade and our contractors were involved in making the road safe following reports of a spillage of cooking oil.

"The road was reopened on Monday evening."

The source of the spillage has yet to be identified but police and fire officers believe it could have come from a lorry carrying an assignment of cooking oil.

charlotte.newton@hamhigh.co.uk

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