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It could happen to you

Dear Editor,

How many people think static electricity is dangerous? Certainly not myself; however, I became a believer last week when my truck caught on fire at a local gas station.

There was a spark when my key touched the lock in the fuel door of the truck. I started fueling and got back in the truck to do some paperwork. When I got back out and touched the nozzle, the whole area flashed flames and actually caught the truck on fire.



I did some on-line research and found an advisory from the American Petroleum Institute (API) specifically addressing the problem. Check it out at http://www.api.org/consumer/refuel.html.

The main problem apparently is the re-entering the vehicle after beginning to pump the gas. This situation is more likely to occur under cold and dry weather conditions because of the static buildup from shuffling on the carpeting. The warning suggests the simple solution is to not get back in the car while refueling. If you must re-enter, touch the metal portion of your vehicle, away from the filling point, before touching the nozzle.



Many thanks to Jim Gornick for his timely help with the fire extinguisher. I was unharmed and managed only singed hair on my hand. Thanks to the friendly state patrolman on the scene as well.

Sincerely,

Dennis Eicher, D.O.

New Castle


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