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Fowler Associates Labs



Static Fire Stories Articles & Technical Papers Current News

You Just Can't Believe Those Hoax Services on the Internet
Debunk the Debunkers

by Steve Fowler
November 27, 2002

Have you ever thought about going to one of the web myth/Hoax web sites that susposedly debunk false claims on the internet? Some of them are good and some of them are pure malarkee. One such site is the Virus Hoaxies and Netlore.

In a series, Fires at the Gas Pump, begun in July 2002 and updated in November 2002, this web site tries to debunk the refueling fires by attacking an email that was sent out by some unknown person. The email had some good points and some inaccuracte points. However, it did a good job of saving lives. The points about a cell phone causing the problem are false. However, static ignited fires are real. Please visit our Refueling Fire Series.


On the Virus Hoaxies and Netlore web site they are quoted as saying:

"This letter is essentially correct, but what Renkes also reported that we refuel our automobiles 16 to 18 BILLION times a year, and that it is still an extremely safe process. In fact, when I was a kid and all stations were full service I have vivid memories of many service station attendants filling my dad's car while smoking like a chimney, and I don't remember evenone of them bursting into flames. I'm not saying that smoking while refueling is a good idea, but how paranoid have we become that we feel the need to "warn everyone in the world" about a stray spark from a cell phone, or a static spark from our fingers.

Even if unreported cases were double or triple the number of incidents that were reported to the PEI this is still an incredibly small percentage of all people refueling their cars. Your chances of winning a state lottery are better than those of experiencing a fire at the pumps. I'm not saying people shouldn't be careful, but as an alternative I think that advising people to hold on to the handrail while climbing the stairs is probably more likely to prevent injuries than refueling tips about static electricity."

Smoking (lit cigarette) is less of an ignition source than a high energy static arc. The author obviously does not know that and bases his and only his opinion on the fact that he and only he has never had a gas fire.

I hope the author of this web site does not experience what Mr. Gouker, Mr. Sierra or Mr. Canfora had to endure.


The moral is:don't trust the myth/hoax sites to give you the truth. Sometimes they hurt.







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