July 07, 2002
LAKE, Michigan – Friday a 2 year old boy was saved
just in time during a refueling fire at the Spring Lake
Shell Mini-Mart station ,728 E. Savidge, Spring Lake,
Skip Lorimer of Spring Lake decided to leave his sleeping
2-year-old son, Griffin, strapped inside his vehicle
he has no idea the near disaster that awaited him. Mr. Lorimer went inside to pay for the gasoline
he had just pumped into his boat, which he was towing.
As he waited in line and looked out the window, a white
sport utility, which had parked next to his vehicle
suddenly exploded into flames.
Lortimer yelled, 'Oh, my God. My son's still inside
the truck.” He
ran outside to try to rescue his son.
Lorimer was able to pull his frightened son from
his Ford Expedition as flame quickly engulfed the white
sport utility vehicle and the refueling area around
him. He carried
Griffin rapidly away from the quickly spreading inferno.
fire severely damaged the overhead canopy, which had
been recently renovated.
It forced the closure of Savidge Street for about
an hour and destroyed a 2001 GMC Yukon sport utility.
Mr. Lortimer’s boat sustained some surface damage on
the right side before it was pulled away.
shutoff switch was activated keeping the fire from being
a worse disaster.
utility vehicle owner, Jeff Richter of Grandville, had
just filled a large (approx 30-gallon) wheeled gasoline container in the back of the
truck. As he
removed the nozzle flames erupted out of the filler
hole. The fire spread rapidly through the GMC Yukon
and up to the canopy. The plastic container quickly
melted and burning gasoline spilled on the ground as
well as in the vehicle, fueling the inferno. The
vehicle's rear tires exploded.
The shock absorbers and air bags also went off.
friend, Ron Berkins of Hudsonville, sustained minor
burns to his arm when the sport utility exploded into
gasoline containers are especially prone to static electricity.
All containers, he said, should be placed on the ground
before being filled and never should be left inside
a vehicle or the bed of a pickup truck. This is a difficult
thing to do when the volume of the container is 30 gallons.
We at the ESD Journal do not believe that such
large plastic containers are safe unless they are properly
grounded and made of static dissipative materials.
Even then, the person who is refueling must go
slowly or enough static charge may build up to cause
an ignitable spark to occur when the fuel level approaches
the grounded nozzle just prior to cut-off.
see our Refueling Fire Series and be careful out there.
Refueling is not a safe act!