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Ohio Gas Station Damaged by Fire Caused by Static Electricity

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Caught on tape: Truck Catches Fire at Gas Station

December 12, 2006
Paraphrased by Steve Waldrop

Static electricity was the cause of a huge fire that heavily damaged a Citgo gas station and destroyed a pickup truck in Kingston, Ohio according to firefighters.

A man began pumping gas into his pickup truck and then returned to the inside of his truck as it began to fuel up, witnesses reported.

Citgo manager Renae Waller said that "He pulled up, started fueling, got back in the vehicle." After fueling, the man exited the truck and removed the nozzle."(He) reached for the nozzle and sparks ignited," Waller said. Soon the white pickup truck became engulfed in flames. The fire caused nearly $40, 000 in damage to the gas station.

Luckily, no injuries were reported.

Static electricity expert Steve Fowler urges consumers to be static smart, and offers some simple do's and don'ts when refueling.

Do not allow children to refuel a vehicle or container.
Do not have unsupervised children in the vehicle.
Refuel vehicles slowly until you have at least one fourth to one half tank full. Refuel all containers slowly.
Keep the nozzle in contact with the container or vehicle at all times during refueling.
Each time you exit the vehicle or approach the fuel dispensing pump, discharge your static by touching the metal parts of the car or pump (away from the nozzle area).
Do not use the auto-latch feature of a nozzle if available. Stay there with your hand on the nozzle.
Do not get back in the vehicle during refueling.

If a fire occurs during refueling: NEVER PULL THE NOZZLE OUT!

The vehicle will not explode
Get people out of the vehicle
Get away
Get help
Tell the attendant to shut down the pumps
Get a fire extinguisher
You have time, don't make it worse

Mr. Fowler also says that many of those killed or hurt during refueling fires think that by pulling the nozzle out they will save themselves, their vehicle or those around them. Nothing is further from the truth. The inferno comes from the nozzle coming out of the vehicle or container and the gasoline being sprayed around the area.



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