East Bay News

Car backs into gas station pump, ignites fire

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

ABC7 News caught up with the driver who crashed into a fuel pump at a Martinez gas station Wednesday night. Two cars were torched in the blaze and a gas pump was knocked off its foundation.

A surveillance camera from across the street caught video of the accident. The car backed up toward the gas pump then suddenly accelerated, smashing into the pump and igniting a fire.

Gas station attendant Paul Burg says he realized his worst fear. He said, "...The whole place going kaboom. I mean there's only about 4,000 gallons of gasoline underground there."

Burg said a man, who would not identify himself, is the driver who quickly got out just before the flames engulfed his car and another one next to the pump.

"Saw the black smoke, ran out front, hit the emergency shut off switch, ran into the back, hit the main power breaker fuse box and then high tailed it out of here," said Burg.

Witness Russ Erickson says he was sitting on his porch a few blocks away. He said, "...and then started hearing explosions. We heard seven or eight explosions."

"I started yelling at everybody to get the hell out of here. It was definitely a big hazard," said Burg.

Burg says the owner of the Ford SUV that was also destroyed was inside the gas station paying when it happened.

"The flames erupted, tires popped, gas tanks popped and the flames were coming out over the edge [of the roof] a little bit," said Burg.

No one was injured. Martinez police say no charges are being filed, and they're still trying to figure out why the driver suddenly backed into the gas pump. But no one seems to know, not even the man behind the wheel.

Wang: Sir, can you just tell us what happened?
Driver: Accident. I don't know.
Wang: Did you lose control? Is the car functioning properly?
Driver: Well everything was... I don't know what happened.

And because of that gas station attendant's quick thinking, firefighters were able to get it under control in less than 20 minutes. The gas station will be closed Thursday for repairs.

(Copyright ©2014 KGO-TV. All Rights Reserved.)

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Tags:
martinez, fire, east bay news, alan wang
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