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Gas Pump Fire Claims Life of North Carolina Woman

September 7, 2005

A routine trip to fill-up their pick-up truck with gas turned deadly for a North Carolina couple on Thursday.

Lois Minor, of Cherry Grove, lost a battle for her life, less than 24 hours after she suffered severe burns in a gas pump fire.

Cherry Grove Volunteer Fire Department received the emergency call at 12:14 p.m. Captain Blane Ward, was the first to arrive at the Camp Springs Pure Station on Cherry Grove Road.

"I've been a firefighter for over thirty-one years and I've never seen anything like it," Ward said of what he referred to as a "flashfire."

The husband of the victim, Roy Minor, had just began filling his pick-up truck with gasoline from one of the pumps at the station when a small explosion blew him away from the vehicle.

The cab of Minor's truck was instantly engulfed in flames. His wife was in the passenger seat at the time.

"It was so quick," the station's owner, Teddy Smith said. Smith immediately hit the emergency shut-off switch for the pumps and grabbed a fire extinguisher.

He and a Lance sales associate managed to undo Lois Minor's seatbelt and pull her from the burning vehicle.

The flames from the vehicle spread to the awning over the pumps, but firefighters managed to contain and extinguish the fire before it spread any farther. The awning suffered minor damage, but the store itself was spared from the flames and only had minimal smoke damage.

Mrs. Minor suffered severe burns and was airlifted to the University of North Carolina Hospital in Chapel Hill. Her husband, was treated at the scene for burns to his face and hand and followed his wife to the hospital by car.

Mrs. Minor passed away early Friday morning at UNC Hospital.

Captain Ward explained that the exact cause of the fire is unknown but stated that even static electricity could cause a fire when gasoline vapors were present.

The Camp Springs Pure Station was open for customers later that afternoon.




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