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Static Electricity Blamed for Utah Gas Pump Fire

October 19, 2004

A Springfield, Utah mother and her 5-year-old son are lucky to be alive after the SUV Trooper she was filling up with gas caught fire and burned.

The woman stopped at a local service station, May 18, shortly after 8 a.m. and began to pump gas into her SUV. While the gas was pumping, the woman went back and sat down in the front seat and began talking to her young son, who was buckled up in the back seat.

As the woman was exiting her vehicle, she noticed an electric charge. After she saw the spark, she said she got out to pull the nozzle out of the SUV's gas tank, and that's when the fire started.

Springfield fire chief, Phil Whitney said that : “She stated that when she pulled the nozzle out that she saw the little fire start."

Witnesses rushed to rescue her son, still inside the SUV and called 911. By the time the police arrived at the station, heavy smoke was billowing from the burning vehicle.

The fire chief said that getting in and out of the vehicle may have built up static.

Whitney, gave this advise : "Stay out of the car and stay there by the pump, and when you get done either touch the car or the pump to discharge any static electricity."

The melted and charred Isuzu Trooper was hardly recognizable after the fire.

The boy suffered second degree burns on his leg but is recovering well. The mother was not injured



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