L. David Byers, 19 of Cumberland County, Pennsylvania, died after inhaling super heated gases caused by a gas fire started by a static electricity charge at a gas pump.
While Byers’ death is an extremely rare and freak accident, it is important that motorists realize that static electricity charges can build up on ones body which could potentially lead to a fire at a gas pump.
Static electricity is the build up of an electric charge on an object. The static charge will remain on the object or person until it is neutralized by a discharge. Static electricity charges have known to cause explosions or fires in industrial settings and in hospitals
Electrostatic discharges can be a danger when a person is fueling their car at a gas station. In one report of gas fires at pumps, four of the five victims were women. This is often due to electrostatic charges building up on sweaters when women re-enter their car during fueling. Most victims suffered burn injuries.
To be safe, motorists should:
- never re-enter their automobile while fueling as this can increase an electrostatic charge
- discharge static electricity — grounding themselves — by touching a metal object like their car before and after fueling
- never smoke at gas stations
- never remove the gas pump nozzle in the case of a fire and leave the immediate area
This information is provided by Washington injury Attorney blog, a service of The Farber Law Group. We represent people who have been seriously injured in motor vehicle accidents and those injured in accidents caused by negligence of another. With our help, you may recover compensation for your damages, including pain and suffering.
Source: Philly.com Static-sparked death raises gas-pump questions
By Peter Mucha Inquirer Staff Writer posted March 10, 2010