Simply put, you might think the answer would be “really common.” But, that’s not necessarily so. In fact, of the average 5,000 give-or-take fires reported at service or gas stations each year, according to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), the vast majority of fires occur in vehicles – having nothing whatsoever to do with the actual gas pumps or people.
The NFPA conducted a five-year study of all fires reported at gas stations from 2004-2008. Of the 5,020 (average over the five years) incidents annually, two people died, 48 people were injured and $20 million in property damage – directly attributed to the fire – were reported.
In 2007, there were 117,000 gas stations in the United States, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. In addition to vehicle fires, blazes destroyed structures more than anything else. Local fire departments reported that structure fires can be blamed on flammable liquids and trash catching on fire.
A case in point occurred in April 2015 in Scotch Plains. Union County firefighters responded to a two-alarm fire at a Lukoil gas station and repair shop. The blaze was caused, investigators said, when a car in the back garage caught on fire. No one was hurt.
Of course, situations like the one in Scotch Plains could have ended very differently had the fire been in the front of the building. That’s where the underground gas tanks are situated. Oil and fire don’t mix, that’s for certain. Gas stations are relied upon by millions each day. However, we take our safety for granted. Even though the statistics reveal that safety precautions taken by filling stations are keeping the public safe, it’s still important to take responsibility for your own personal safety.
- Always shut your engine off when filling up at the service station.
- Never empty your ash tray into the garbage receptacles by the gas tanks.
- And, stay in your car while the gas station attendant fills your tank. In NJ, that’s the law.
If you or someone you love has been injured in a fire or other accident, contact the personal injury lawyers at Lombardi and Lombardi for sound, and compassionate, legal representation.