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Man Dies In Freak Gas Pump Fire Caused By Static Electricity
By Laura Northrup on March 10, 2010 4:47 PM 0 views


A Pennsylvania man died last Friday in a freak fire at a gas station.
Authorities say that the fire was sparked by static electricity on the
man's body, and he died of inhalation of superheated gases. While this
type of fire is very rare and fatalities even rarer, they do happen.
To prevent them, you should do something terribly mundane: do not ever
get back in your car while fueling, and make sure to touch a metal
surface before fueling.

Built-up static electricity can be discharged as a spark, igniting the
gasoline. But in this case, authorities are unsure what could have
ignited the fire.

State police fire marshal Eric Keebaugh, who investigated the
fire, said several things could have happened to discharge the
electricity and spark gasoline vapors.

After he got out of his car, Byers might have closed the door with
his elbow or his shoe, which would have insulated his body and not
allowed him to "ground" any electricity, Keebaugh said.

Some clothing also is more prone to lead to the buildup of static
electricity, he said. Renkes said he knows of one fire that resulted
after a man put on a windbreaker.

"There was a perfect alignment of the conditions to create this
tragedy," Williamson said