Gas Station Fire Caused by
"I heard something pop, I
saw a wall of fire coming at me."
Ray Watson, gas station employee
February 2, 2006
Paraphrased by Steve Waldrop
Fire fighters said an early morning explosion
at a Knoxville, Tennessee gas station was caused by static
Human's BP station located on Western
Avenue erupted in flames when static electricity ignited
gasoline fumes, said Charlie Barker, spokesman for the
Knoxville Fire Department.
Firefighters received the emergency call at 7:39 a.m..
Commuters on their way to work and school suffered delays
while traffic was detoured around the area.
Mechanic, Robert Banks, was installing a fuel pump in
a car that was elevated by a hydraulic lift when static
electricity from his clothing apparently sparked the fire.
Banks has over 15 years of experience as a mechanic.
"This guy was underneath the car
putting a fuel pump in," Barker said. "He said
he felt the static on his clothes and by then it was too
Banks was transported to the University
of Tennessee Medical Center with burns to his face and
arms. He was treated for his injuries and later released.
"I heard something pop," said
station employee Ray Watson "I saw a wall of fire
coming at me."
When firefighters arrived at the scene,
flames were shooting over eight feet from the busted windows
of the closed station bay doors.
The fire was contained to the garage area,
which was destroyed. Three vehicles in the station bays
and a fourth parked outside the bay doors were burned.
Barker said the flames never threatened the gas pumps
in front of the station.