Woman critically burned at fuel pump

Woman critically burned at fuel pump

May 28th, 2011 by Beth Burger in News

Safety tips when refueling

• Always turn off the vehicle engine.

• Stay near the vehicle fueling point during the process.

• Never smoke, light matches or use lighters.

• Leave cell phones and other electronic devices inside the vehicle; such devices potentially can emit charges.

• Do not get back into the vehicle during refueling. If you need to re-enter, discharge the static electricity buildup when you get out by touching the outside metal portion of the vehicle.

• Do not overfill the gas tank.

• When dispensing gas into a container, make sure it's an approved container and is sitting on the ground rather than inside the vehicle.

• If a flash fire occurs, leave the nozzle in the vehicle's fill pipe and back away. Hit the emergency shutdown button to turn off the pump.

Source: Purdue University

A 20-year-old woman was in critical but stable condition at a Georgia burn center Friday after a fire ignited at a gas pump in Hixson.

Samantha Lawrence and her boyfriend were pumping gas into a Jeep Cherokee at the Kangaroo gas station at 1005 Hixson Pike just after 10 p.m. Thursday when the blaze started, according to Chattanooga fire officials.

Her clothes caught on fire, and she screamed for help. One clerk called 911, and another put the flames out with a fire extinguisher, Chattanooga Fire Department spokesman Bruce Garner said.

"These guys reacted very quickly and appropriately," Garner said. "They did a good job."

Lawrence had second- and third-degree burns to 30 percent of her upper body, including her arms, he said.

She was taken to Erlanger hospital and later transferred to the Joseph M. Still Burn Center in Augusta, Ga.

Investigators have been unable to interview her because of her condition, Garner said.

Chattanooga Fire Department and Chattanooga Police Department investigators still are investigating what caused the fire, he said.

Fires at gas pumps are not that common, Garner said.

"It certainly gets a lot of attention and causes a lot of concern when you do get one," he said.

Employees at the Kangaroo gas station declined to comment about the fire, citing corporate policy.

On Friday afternoon, yellow tape roped off the area and bags covered pumps at the No. 2 gas line, where the fire happened.

Police took Lawrence's boyfriend into custody at the scene on an unrelated warrant, Chattanooga Police Department Sgt. Jerri Weary said.