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Static Electricity Causes Gas Pump Fires

Forwarded email claims static electricity has been the cause of a significant number of fires at or near gasoline pumps during vehicle refueling.

Description: Email rumor
Status: True (with errors)
Circulating since: April 2002
Analysis: See next page


Email example contributed by J. Surratt, May 1, 2002:

Subject: Filling stations and static electricity...

This was forwarded to me by my aunt............

------------------------------------

Hello everyone,

I just had an interesting call from Bob Renkes of Petroleum Equipment Institute. Mr. Renkes was calling all the Scherer's in Oran trying to reach Lisa Scherer - the one whose van burnt at Hucks. The company he works for is on a campaign to try and make people aware of fires as a result of "static" at gas pumps. His company has researched 150 cases of these fires. His results were very surprising to me:

1) Out of 150 cases, almost all of them were women.
2) Almost all cases involved the person getting back in their vehicle while the nozzle was still pumping gas, when finished and they went back to pull the nozzle out the fire started, as a result of static.
3) Most had on rubber-soled shoes.
4) Most men never get back in their vehicle until completely finished. This is why they are seldom involved in these types of fires.
5) Don't ever use cell phones when pumping gas.
6) It is the vapors that come out of the gas that cause the fire, when connected with static charges.
7) Several of the 150 cases (not nearly all, but several) involved 1994 Dodge Caravans. (They don't know why, possibly more static).

After finding out that I usually go back in the van while I am filling it with gas, Mr. Renkes stressed to me NEVER do that. If you absolutely HAVE to get in your vehicle while the gas is pumping, make sure you get out, close the door, TOUCHING THE METAL, before you ever pull the nozzle out. This way the static from your body will be discharged before you ever remove the nozzle.

As I mentioned earlier, The Petroleum Equipment Institute, along with several other companies now, are really trying to make the public aware of this danger. You can find out more information by going to www.pei.org Once here, click in the center of the screen where it says "Stop Static".

I ask you to please send this information to ALL your family and friends.

After talking with Lisa, I can see why she said she'd never go to a gas station with her kids in the car with her. If they had been in the vehicle, they would not have been able to get out in time.

Thank for passing this along.

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