Electricity Likely Started Fire That Heavily Damaged Florist
A fire that heavily damaged
a florist shop in Santa Clara, California was likely started
by someone who was illegally siphoning gas from the shop's
delivery van parked just a few feet away from the building,
according to a fire marshal.
Investigators determined that the gas
cap from the Citti's Florist Shop delivery van had been
removed and found remnants of a hose in the gas tank,
Santa Clara Fire Marshal Martin Von Raesfeld said.
The blaze started at the van and began
spreading upward and outward, fire officials said, and
jumped to the building's extended wooden overhang.
"Someone was trying to steal gas
and somehow it ignited," Von Raesfeld said.
The fire was likely started by static
electricity, Von Raesfeld said. The flowing of liquid
into a plastic container creates static electricity, he
said, and if someone is holding a plastic container and
wearing shoes, the electricity is not grounded. The static
electricity can create a spark through contact with metal
and easily ignite the vapors, he added.
"It could also be the person was
smoking," Von Raesfeld said. "We've seen that
happen. The more likely cause would be static electricity."
Investigators unsuccessfully tried to
locate possible burn victims at area hospitals, Von Raesfeld
said. All evidence was consumed in the fire, he added.
The building suffered about $400,000 in damage but was
not completely destroyed, Von Raesfeld said.