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Static Electricity Could Have Ignited Fire at Montana Gas Station

February 17, 2005
Great Falls, Montana
- Static electricity could be to blame for a fire that damaged a woman's car and a gas station. It happened at the Town Pump on 10th Avenue South around 1:30 p.m. when a woman began pumping gas into her SUV.

The Great Falls Fire Department says the woman felt heat coming from the nozzle when it caught fire. The cause of the fire is still under investigation.

The woman and a child in the back seat were not injured. The blaze engulfed the rear end of the GMC BLazer and part of the canopy above the gas station. Fire crews sprayed water and foam to control the blaze.

When refueling your vehicle, the following suggestions will save your life or that of someone else:

Never allow your vehicle to have less than 1/4 tank of gasoline when refueling.
Never Allow Children to refuel a vehicle.
Never have children in the vehicle during refueling.
Turn off the vehicle before refueling.
Never smoke near a gasoline station or especially during refueling.
Every time you exit the vehicle, discharge the static on yourself by touching the metal of your vehicle away from the fuel door area.
Every time you approach the fuel dispencing pump, discharge the static on yourself by touching the metal parts of the pump away from the nozzle area.
Refuel the vehicle slowly until you have at least 1/4 to 1/2 tank full. Then you may refuel at the maximum rate.
Never use the auto-latch feature of a nozzle if available. Stay there with your hand on the nozzle.
Never get back in the vehicle during refueling.

And the most important thing to remember if a fire occurs during refueling:

Never, Never pull the nozzle out of the vehicle.

The car will not explode.
Run away
Get help
Ask the attendent to shut down the pumps
Get a fire extinguisher
You have time, don't make it worse.




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