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UPDATED - Fire at VI Motors resulted from safety breach – Chief Fire Officer

December 2nd, 2011 | Tags: William Penn explosion fire Local VI Motors gas station
One person was injured following an explosion at VI Motors gas station today. Photo: VINO
ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI – The fire yesterday Thursday December 1, 2011 that occurred at the gas station at VI Motors which resulted in one person being injured was as a result of a safety breach that should never be practiced.

This is according to Acting Chief Fire Officer Mr. William Penn in a statement issued today Friday December 2, 2011.

“We responded to a call yesterday at VI motors which resulted in one person being injured,” he confirmed stating that gas was being dispensed into a container while stationed on the back of a pickup truck, a safety breach that should never be practiced.

“In a case like this the container should always be filled on the ground. What the community must realise is that gasoline is a very volatile substance and if it is not grounded when pumping gas there is a higher probability of ignition from static electricity, or any flame source,” Mr. Penn explained in a government issued press release.

Officer Penn further explained that the reason why it is relatively safe to pump gas into automobiles is because vehicles come with a mechanism built-in creating a ground and allowing any built-up static electricity to flow to the ground.

He encouraged business owners and operators to ensure that staff is trained in use of fire extinguishers and safety apparatus stating that, “The damage from the fire at VI motors could have been much more extensive had extinguishers not been used. It is proven that fire extinguishers work and businesses must ensure that staff is trained on how to use them.”

Virgin Islands News Online was on the scene after the incident yesterday and according to pump attendant Ms. Cameron, she was pumping gasoline into a container that was in a pickup truck when she suddenly noticed fire emanating from the container. She said in panic she dropped the pump and ran for help.

The fire was reportedly brought under control by staff of VI Motors but one person received burns to one of his arms and was taken to hospital for treatment. The injured man was reportedly attempting to lift the nozzle of the pump from the burning container.

The explosion created a large mass of fire and smoke that resulted in traffic being backed on the road for a short period as persons feared more explosions.

According to Ms. Cameron the customer she was attending to is a regular one and she has filled the same container many times before. So shaken was she that she was contemplating quitting her job.

16 Responses to “UPDATED - Fire at VI Motors resulted from safety breach – Chief Fire Officer”

  • Static (01/12/2011, 18:16) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    All containers MUST be placed on the GROUND before filling. The simple reason is : STATIC ELECTRICITY. With the container on the ground, the static is "grounded". While in/on the vehicle, the tires insulate the vehicle from grounding.
    • My $0.02 (01/12/2011, 19:50) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
      Good tip. I would imagine this would be true if the container is sliding around in the back of the vehicle like rubbing your feet on a carpet.
      • Two more sense (01/12/2011, 21:53) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
        The friction is caused by the flow of the fuel into the container and as stated if it's in the back of the vehicle the tires insulate the ground. There should be a sign posted at the station and the staff if properly trained would know that.
    • Rupert Haden (02/12/2011, 16:33) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
      This report is inaccurate. I was the customer, whose fuel cell caught fire. I also the one who put the fire out, whilst the staff ran around like headless chickens.
    • Drum (04/12/2011, 07:37) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
      What about filling a 55 gal drum in the back of a pickup, how can this be done safely as it cannot be lifted off the ground after being filled?
  • H (01/12/2011, 20:06) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    Ok no al we get u
  • ze (01/12/2011, 21:11) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    oh no this could have been worst...thank god no one die
  • the cat mother (02/12/2011, 06:24) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    thank you jesus dat all tis well or else look melee at vi motors
  • RodentKing (02/12/2011, 10:55) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    Basic training would have prevented this mishap
  • Patc (02/12/2011, 16:22) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    The truth of the matter is both arms and face were burnt. I hope VI motors compensate him as he was trying to save the explosion from happening. Thank God he is still alive. God is mercifu.
    • deuff bottom (03/12/2011, 16:50) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
      you all talk to much hogwash on these blogs...the guy is ok....
  • eat that (03/12/2011, 23:50) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
  • Viola Forill (04/12/2011, 13:22) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    In order to protect their workers, their customers as well as the entire neighboring communities where these gas stations exist, I think all the gas stations if they have not already done so, should erect warning signs on their gas pumps like they do in other countries, which states: "HIGHLY FLAMMABLE LIQUID PLEASE DO NOT FILL CONTAINERS IN VEHICLES, COULD CAUSE EXPLOSIONS AND FIRES! PLEASE DO NOT USE CELL PHONES WHILE PUMPING GAS! PLEASE DO NOT RE-ENTER VEHICLE WHILE PUMPING GAS, STATIC ELECTRICITY COULD BUILD CAUSING FIRE OR EXPLOSION!" I am very happy that everyone involved is safe and the incident didn't progress into anything more catastrophic!

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