Newest Gas Crisis: Death by Explosion; How to Avoid It

A Cumberland County teen was killed last week after a gasoline pump he was using burst into flames from static electricity.

Was this just a freak occurrence or is everyone, including the students at Penn Manor, in danger when they pull up to the pumps?

Penn Manor juniors Jennifer Felegi and Jessica Lindaman aren’t interested in taking any chances.

“Yeah I’m scared. I might blow up,” said Felegi, after hearing of the incident.

“It’s a one-in-how-many chance and all, but I don’t want to die,” Lindaman said.

Sophomore Jonny Fernandez is less nervous about dealing with static electricity and a possible explosion at a gas pump.

“[Static electricity] happens,” said Fernandez. “I touch the door when I get out [of the car] and I get shocked. It happens.”

Fernandez is taking the right precautions to prevent injury.

Experts on say that although this is rare, the possibility of causing a fire from static electricity is very real and very dangerous.

They also claim that 75 percent of victims of gas pump-related fires are women. They offer these tips to help reduce the amount of accidents and increase awareness of this under-the-radar menace:

  • Don’t get back into your car after you begin pumping
  • If you have to get back into your car, touch a metal area of your car away from the gas pump to “ground yourself”
  • Do not smoke, light matches or lighters while refueling

The Lancaster New Era also warns consumers to get help if a fire is started, not to remove the nozzle.

L. David Byers, the victim, was not smoking at the time of the accident and did not return to his car during pumping gas. However, the weather conditions were very dry, according to Lower Allen Township Fire Chief Frank Williamson, the perfect conditions to create static electricity.

Remember, this sort of incident is rare but can be fatal. Pass along the knowledge to help prevent further injury from ignorance.

By Danie Beck

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