Static electricity causes fire at a gas pump for Illinois driver - KMOV.com

Static electricity causes fire at a gas pump for Illinois driver

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A local man learns warning signs at the gas pump are there for a reason. (Credit: KMOV) A local man learns warning signs at the gas pump are there for a reason. (Credit: KMOV)
BELLEVILLE, Ill. (KMOV.com) -

A local man learned the warning sign on gas station pumps is there for a reason after his tank caught on fire Sunday at a Belleville BP gas station.

“I think it could have blew me up and killed me and everyone at the gas station,” said Darell Hunt.

Hunt admits he ignored the warning sign at the pump and didn’t turn his truck off while he filled up his tank on Sunday.

He also went back inside the truck to wait.

“I always thought it’s a wives tale,” he said.

The sign warns drivers about the risk caused by potential static electricity that can lead to fires when drivers go back into their cars and or leave them running while at the pump.

Hunt realized the importance of that warning once he stepped out of his truck and reached for the handle of the fuel nozzle.  

“When I reached to grab it, it just went boom a big ball of fire and I just took off running into the building.”

Khristie Gable, the stores General Manager was inside at the time when she saw Hunt and quickly turned off the pumps.

“It was scary,” she said, “very scary.”

Hunt used a nearby fire extinguisher to douse the flames.

According to the Petroleum Equipment Institute, they’ve received 200 similar reports of sparks and fires related to static electrical discharge.

 “There’s a big sign that says stop engine please,” said Gable, “and you should stop your engine every time for that reason, I mean it doesn’t always happen but there’s that one in a million time that it could cause the whole station to explode.”

In this case, the damage was minimal, just a bit of residue left on the tank of Hunt’s truck and he’s okay with that.

“Looking at it now sometimes,” he said, “I saw not a scratch on the truck not a scratch on me that’s a miracle.”

Hunt will now only pump with his truck off and won’t be getting back in to keep warm while he fills up.

“People take this seriously,” he said, “that his could actually happen.” 

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