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If you haven't heard about this, you're not going to believe it:
A fire broke out at a gas station when a kid's cell phone rang while he was pumping gas. The kid got burned but he's OK. Could have been worse.

http://abclocal.go.com/wabc/news/wabc_051404_gasfire.html


Fire Chief Convinced Cell Phone Sparked Gas Station Blaze

By Stacey Sager

(New Paltz-WABC, May 14, 2004) — The fire chief in New Paltz says that a full tank of gas and a cell phone may have nearly cost a college student his life.
The student from SUNY New Paltz is recovering from burns after something sparked a fire at a gas station. Investigators say he was at the pump when the gas ignited....
The fire chief here says the problem was definitely a cell phone that caused the explosion. A cell phone that was ringing, and which the young man answered right as he was pumping gas. If it hadn't been for some fast thinking people the explosion would have been a lot worse.

The clean-up was about the worst of it here at the Mobil station in New Paltz, with white fire extinguishing powder coating the entire station after last night's bizarre accident. Even the fire chief found it hard to believe at first.

Chief Patrick Koch, New Paltz Fire Dept.: "I'm positive today, that as of last night, 9:30 last night, I'm positive that a cell phone can ignite."

If true, this would be the first confirmed case of what has been considered an urban legend for the past few years. Stories of cell phones igniting fumes at gas stations began circulating in the media and on the Internet in 1999. Those stories apparently came from Asia, though investigators have not been able to backtrack the anecdotes to the specific individuals or events.

Since then, a good number of articles have been written that speculated on the subject, though no definite cases have been uncovered. And some have done experiments trying to create the proper conditions to ignite gas fumes with a cell phone -- none of which appear to have been successful.

For more on this subject, visit the Urban Legends Reference Pages.

Nevertheless, New Paltz's fire chief says it started when a 21-year-old student at SUNY New Paltz used pump number one to fill up his car. And when his cell phone rang, he did what many would do -- he answered it.

At which point, the area around the nozzle of the gas pump ignited.

Chief Patrick Koch: "He saw a big flash of fire. He grabbed the pump out of the tank of his vehicle, threw it to the ground and ran."

That's when a quick-thinking clerk at the station pulled an emergency fire switch and the extinguisher came shooting out of the spouts....

There is a sign at the pump that tells you to turn your cell phone off, posted inches away from where the young man was actually pumping the gas. Fortunately, he suffered only minor burns, to one of his arms.

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



BTW, yesterday while I was pumping gas, I happened to notice a sign on the pump, saying that before you pump gas you should touch your hand to the body of the car "to discharge static electricity" which could cause a fire, also that you shouldn't go back into the car while the gas was pumping because that could re-charge you. I never noticed or heard of anything like that before, in all my "many" years, and I never saw anybody "discharging" their "static electricity," so I didn't think much about it, although it did get my attention.
 

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lol, what an idiot...:rolleyes:
 

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larchmont said:
BTW, yesterday while I was pumping gas, I happened to notice a sign on the pump, saying that before you pump gas you should touch your hand to the body of the car "to discharge static electricity" which could cause a fire, also that you shouldn't go back into the car while the gas was pumping because that could re-charge you. I never noticed or heard of anything like that before, in all my "many" years, and I never saw anybody "discharging" their "static electricity," so I didn't think much about it, although it did get my attention.
Actually, it's pretty easy to discharge yourself... just simply touch any metal part of the car before grabbing for the pump. As far as getting back into the car, the only reason they say that is because people usually don't remember to discharge themselves after getting back out or if they didn't discharge themselves the first time, it builds up more static electricity. I think that the static electricity problem is more of a potential in the winter rather than in the summer when it is nice and humid.

By the way, there was a story on Dateline or 20/20 or one of those night-time news programs about this. Basically, they said that the problem is less likely related to cell phones than it is to static electricity. They also went on to show a few video clips from security cameras at gas stations where gas pumps ignited while people were pumping them.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
So.....there really is some (possible) relation between the cell phone thing and the static electricity thing that I saw? I didn't necessarily think so. I mentioned the static electricity thing just because it was "another" weird thing that supposedly could cause a fire.

But more importantly.....you mean you actually knew about that, and you actually make a point to take care of it?

Not that I'm faulting you for it, but I wonder how it was that you decided it was worth doing. As I said, I never heard of it before, and I haven't been aware of anybody else doing it.
 

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I have a mpeg of a lady filling up her Jeep Cherokee and it explodes cuz she gets back in her car and gets back out. :bill:

where to upload it though?:donno:
 

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New Paltz???? Hmmmmmm......

"No rational cause could be found for the explosion - it was simply designated an Act of God. But, thinks Dirk Gently, which god? And why?" -The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul by Douglas Adams

New Paltz, New York.....

:idea:

Hmmmmm........yes, they've been in the news lately.......

"Mythbusters" tried this and about the only way they could get it to work was to set the cell phone on fire and stuff it down into the gas tank.

They did confirm static electricity discharge as a possible cause.

(f)(l)(a)(
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
bob shiftright said:
...."Mythbusters" tried this and about the only way they could get it to work was to set the cell phone on fire and stuff it down into the gas tank....
OK, good -- so I guess we can say it's a proven fact that we shouldn't do that. :ikno:
 

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yeah I saw that myth busters too and it was proved wrong.

I've got a vid of some one getting back in the car then touching metal and starting a fire.
 

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Yeah, I saw that episode of MythBusters as well. I don't know if their test was valid. I agree they proved that a cell phone wouldn't create a spark, but I recall that they even tried creating a static electricity spark (by rubbing some fabric vigorously), but it still didn't "blow up". I think they should have done it during the winter when the air is drier.

Anyway, to answer Larch, yes, I do make it a point to touch my car before I touch the gas pump, especially in the winter time. Like I said, I saw that story on Dateline or 20/20 which showed video of people starting fires while pumping gas into their car, which they attributed to static electricity.

The interesting thing is that the static electricity spark comes when the driver gets back out of their car to take the pump out of their vehicle. The reason is that at that point, the gas is right at the top of the tank, plus the driver usually doesn't touch anything metal before touching the pump. When the driver first gets out of the vehicle to pump the gas, he/she usually touches the pump or the car (to remove the gas cap). But when they get back into their car (to wait for the gas to finish pumping), they usually don't touch anything when they get back out.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
sjlee said:
.....The interesting thing is that the static electricity spark comes when the driver gets back out of their car to take the pump out of their vehicle. The reason is that at that point, the gas is right at the top of the tank, plus the driver usually doesn't touch anything metal before touching the pump. When the driver first gets out of the vehicle to pump the gas, he/she usually touches the pump or the car (to remove the gas cap), But when they get back into their car (to wait for the gas to finish pumping), they usually don't touch anything when they get back out.
Yes -- I hadn't thought of that -- that you basically have to touch the car anyway after you first get out.

But there's more..... When you first get out of the car, don't you also (usually) touch the car to close the door behind you? (Unless you leave the door open, which I don't think most people do.) And don't you also do that when you get back out again at the end?

So, unless that's not enough of a "touch," people wouldn't have to do anything extra at all, just make sure they close the door behind them on their way out each time.
 

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larchmont said:
But there's more..... When you first get out of the car, don't you also (usually) touch the car to close the door behind you? (Unless you leave the door open, which I don't think most people do.) And don't you also do that when you get back out again at the end?
That's a good point.

I think people are more likely to leave their car door open the second time since they're thinking they just have to take the pump out of the car, grab their credit card receipt and be on their way.

Obviously, the majority of drivers out there are discharging themselves somehow, otherwise, we'd probably hear of more fires at gas stations.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
sjlee said:
.....Obviously, the majority of drivers out there are discharging themselves somehow, otherwise, we'd probably hear of more fires at gas stations.
.....unless this isn't really much of a risk factor in the first place.
 

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Pump gas? (f)(l)(a)( What's that? :donno:

In NJ, there are no self serve gas stations. It's all full service (as required by state law I think???). I did see some diesel pumps which had self serve sign on it though.
 

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Whatchamacallit said:
In NJ, there are no self serve gas stations. It's all full service (as required by state law I think???)
That sucks!
Joker - who doesn't like strangers touching his car :D
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Joker said:
That sucks!
Joker - who doesn't like strangers touching his car :D
Me2 -- now more than ever, because the TSX is so sensitive to the gas cap not being put back on just right.

(When it's not on right, that "check engine" warning light comes on, and you don't know wtf is going on.....)

When I can't avoid going to one of "those" gas stations, I still personally put the gas cap back on.
 

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Joker said:
That sucks!
Joker - who doesn't like strangers touching his car :D
I got over it after the first real snow storm. It's awesome that I don't have to drag my arse out of the car in freezing temperatures and pump gas while shivering my pants off. :ben:

No wait. . . CA doesn't really get much snow. :mad:

It's not so bad though. The gas attendants do it for a living so they are quite careful not to damage the car.
 

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Whatchamacallit said:
No wait. . . CA doesn't really get much snow. :mad:
Our local mountains (Big Bear) gets real snow about twice a year :laugh: Most of it is man made (from the lake).
As for SoCal, we pretty much have one season :(
Joker - who has always wanted to live where it snows, have a white Christmas, and play ice hockey on a lake
 

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Whatchamacallit said:
Pump gas? (f)(l)(a)( What's that? :donno:

In NJ, there are no self serve gas stations. It's all full service (as required by state law I think???). I did see some diesel pumps which had self serve sign on it though.
Do people tip the gasman?
 
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