Woman critically burned after boyfriend's lighter sparks fire at gas pump

Woman critically burned after boyfriend's lighter sparks fire at gas pump

June 2nd, 2011 by Staff Report in News


  • Turn off the vehicle's engine when refueling.

  • Don't smoke, light matches or use lighters while refueling.

  • Pay attention. Pumping gas is the transfer of a hazardous substance; don't engage in other activities.

  • When using any electronic device, such as cell phones, computers or portable radios while refueling, follow manufacturer's instructions.

  • If a fire starts while you're refueling, don't remove the nozzle from the vehicle or try to stop the flow of gasoline. Leave the area immediately and call for help.

  • Don't get in and out of the vehicle while refueling to avoid static that could spark and ignite gasoline vapor.

Source: National Fire Protection Association

It was the flick of a lighter that led to woman's third-degree burns at a gas pump last week.

Samantha Lawrence, 20, was critically burned after her boyfriend lit a cigarette while she was pumping gas, authorities said. She sustained second- and third-degree burns to about 30 percent of her body, mostly on her torso and arms, according to the Chattanooga Fire Department.

She remains at the Joseph M. Still Burn Center in Augusta, Ga.

Investigators have ruled the fire accidental.

Lawrence was with her boyfriend, Derek Seretean, at the Kangaroo gas station at 1005 Hixson Pike on May 26. He went inside to buy cigarettes, then walked up next to her at the gas pump and lit one, the release said. Fire flashed and Lawrence's clothes caught fire, a news release from the fire department stated.

A bystander told her to drop to the ground and roll to extinguish the flames, according to the release, and a cashier inside hit the kill switch to the gas pump.

Seretean was arrested at the scene on an unrelated warrant, according to Chattanooga police.

According to Garner, the most recent figures available from the National Fire Protection Association show that more than 5,000 fires and explosions occurred at public service stations per year from 2004-2008. Almost two-thirds involved vehicles and two people were killed.