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  Stop Static Central
our report incidents report a fire

FIRES AT REFUELING SITES THAT APPEAR TO BE STATIC RELATED

March 21, 2006

Compiled and written by: Robert N. Renkes
Executive Vice President & General Counsel
Petroleum Equipment Institute
P.O. Box 2380
Tulsa, Oklahoma 74101-2380
(918) 494-9696 (phone)
(918) 491-9895 (fax)
rrenkes@pei.org


Reports by Year

Year

Total

NHTSA Only

1992

1

   

1993

1

1

1994

3

3

1995

8

7

1996

7

4

1997

9

5

1998

10

3

1999

32

6

2000

24

1

2001

12

   

2002

31

 

2003

12

2004

5

 

2005

2

 

2006

2

 

Unknown

7

4

Total

166

34

 

Reports by Months

Month

Reports

%

January

27

18

February

25

14  

March

20

12  

April  

11

6  

May  

10

7  

June  

4

1  

July  

1

1  

August  

7

2  

September

7

2  

October

8

2  

November

14

7  

December

25

17  

Unknown

7

7  

Total

166

96%

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Reports by State

State

Total

NHTSA Only

Nebraska

14

1

Texas

11

2

Colorado

10

3

Missouri

10

 

California

7

4

Pennsylvania

7

3

North Carolina

7

1

Kentucky

8

 

Oklahoma

6

 

Kansas

6

 

Michigan

6

1

Illinois

6

2

Tennessee

4

1

Louisiana

4

1

N. Mexico

4

 

Minnesota

4

2

Arizona

4

 

Idaho

3

1

Utah

4

 

New York

3

2

Ohio

3

1

Virginia

4

 

Washington

3

 

Maryland

2

2

Georgia

2

2

Wisconsin

2

1

Mississippi

2

 

South Carolina

2

 

Mass.

2

1

Montana

2

 

Arkansas

2

1

Alabama

2

 

Indiana

1

 

Iowa

1

 

District of Columbia

1

1

Florida

1

 

Nevada

1

 

Alaska

1

 

New Jersey

1

Oregon

1

 

Canada

1

 

Unknown

1

1

Total

166

34

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Injuries

Number

Description of Injury

25

Hair singed/burned

7

First and second degree burns

7

Burns to hand

4

Yes

4

First-degree burns

2

Burns to leg—treated and released

3

Burns to face

3

Second degree burns--skin grafts

2

Badly burned

2

Minor scrapes

2

Clothing scorched

1

Third degree burns over 60% of body

1

Death—person

2

Treated for burns and released

1

Death—dog

1

Back injury

1

Bruised leg while running away

1

Nerve damage

 

 Damage to Vehicle

Number

Description of Damage

34

Totaled

14

Paint discolored; blistered

19

Under $1,000; minor

9

Melting around fill pipe

9

$1,000 to $8,000; moderate

4

Yes

2

Smoke

1

Burned rubber around gas tank door

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Damage To Station

Number

Description of Damage

12

Damage to dispenser

10

Destroyed nozzle

9

Destroyed dispenser

7

Destroyed dispenser(s) and canopy

4

Destroyed canopy

3

Aboveground storage tank destroyed

2

Destroyed garage and nearby building(s)

1

Nozzle splash guard

1

Destroyed dispenser(s), canopy and lighting

1

Smoke damage to cover above pump

1

Smashed fire extinguisher housing

1

Damage to fuel hose and canopy

1

Damage to gas tank and right quarter panel

 

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Incidents of refueling fires reported to PEI

The following information lists the date, type of vehicle (if known) and a brief description of the incident. These refueling fire incidents have been categorized by the reported activity of the person refueling. The first group are those where the refueler re-entered their vehicle and then touched the nozzle during the refueling process. The second group are those that did not re-enter the vehicle and/or touch the nozzle.

79 Fires Reported to PEI Where the Vehicle Was Reentered and the Nozzle was Touched During Refueling

Log #

Date

Yr./Make Vehicle

Description of Incident

1

10-99

Toyota Camry

The customer started fueling. She put it on automatic and returned to sit in the car. The nozzle shut off. She topped off the tank. As she grabbed the nozzle to remove it, a flash fire occurred.

2

1-00

1991 Plymouth Voyager

Started fueling the car with the automatic nozzle set. She reentered the car leaving the door open. She returned to the nozzle in order to stop the pump at the amount she wanted. After shutting off the nozzle manually she started to remove the nozzle; a fire started at the filler pipe of the car. When the fire started she removed the nozzle and threw it to the ground.

3

12-99

Mitsubishi Eclipse

Started fueling. Returned to car to write a check. Returned to the fueling site to stop fueling at $7.00. When she touched the nozzle, a flash fire followed.

4

12-99

1999 Ford Windstar

I shut off my engine before refueling my van. I got out of my van and began fueling. I set the pump to operate automatically while I sat in my car for a few minutes. While waiting in my car I called my husband on the cell phone and shut the phone off. After the pump had a little over $10 worth of gas, I grabbed a $20 bill and got out of the van to shut the gas off and pay. I got out and proceeded to pull the nozzle out of my vehicle. When I pulled the nozzle from my tank, a burst of flames shot out of my tank with the nozzle on fire. I jammed the nozzle back into the tank and ran from the vehicle.

6

1-00

1995 Mitsubishi Eclipse

I was letting it fill up and I got out of the car to go to stop the gas and when I reached down I felt a pop on my finger and I pulled back and the flames came up.

 

Log #

Date

Yr./Make Vehicle

Description of Incident

9

1-00

1995 Plymouth Voyager

Driver gets out of car to fuel. Returns to car. Dispenses $9 and gets out of car. Shuts door. Touches nozzle. Fire. Driver goes into store. Latch still on. Yanks the nozzle out to put out the fire. Gasoline comes out.

11

3-99

1996 Nissan Quest

Started dispensing fuel, got back in van, left door open. Jumped out to stop fueling and a static spark ignited the vapors as he reached for the nozzle.

12

Unknown

1999 Chevy Van

Started fueling. Got back in van. Got back out. Spark from hand to nozzle ignited vapors.

13

10-99

1997 Buick Regal

Operator was wearing cotton gloves. Started fueling and sat back in car waiting for nozzle to trip. Reached for nozzle after 11 gallons were dispensed. Flame came out. Turned off nozzle and dropped it on the ground. Attendant put out fire at fuel port.

15

1-00

1999 Ford F150 Pickup

Started fueling, went back to car, turned on power to view fuel gauge, turned off power. Left vehicle with door open. Touched nozzle and felt spark.

16

1-00

1992 Ford F150 Pickup

Engine on while refueling. Blocked nozzle open to “on” position with a rock. Climbed back into vehicle. Gauge at ¾ full, reached for nozzle to stop fuel flow, and saw flame shoot out from tank spout. Fire marshal said “a static discharge occurred.”

18

5-99

Unknown

Customer sat in car while refueling. Turned key on to auxiliary. As the nozzle was pulled out, saw a flame.

19

3-97

1985 Buick Park Avenue

Chocked the nozzle open with the gas cap. Went into the car to talk to the children. Heard tank filling to top, got out of car, reached for the nozzle to turn off fuel flow. Sparking occurred at the nozzle-vehicle fill connection.

 

Log #

Date

Yr./Make Vehicle

Description of Incident

21

10-97

1985 Buick station wagon

After four gallons were dispensed, the driver opened the driver’s side door, got in car and turned key to observe the gauge. She got out of the car, leaving the door open. She touched the nozzle to put more gas in her car and felt her hand getting hot. She looked down and saw fire coming from the fill spout of the gas tank. She jerked back and pulled the nozzle out, spraying some gasoline in (the door was open) and on the car. 7.28 gallons dispensed.

23

1-96

1996 Camaro

Put nozzle in car. Returned to car. Went back to nozzle. Bent down behind nozzle. Flash. Ran away but returned to car to remove nozzle.

25

1-99

1997 Chevy Silverado

Driver blocked nozzle open with gasoline cap. Sat in driver’s seat with driver’s side door open. Went back to nozzle as tank became full, touched the nozzle and vapors ignited. Started to run away but returned to remove nozzle and dropped it on the ground.

26

2-99

1993 Olds Cutlass Supreme

Started fueling. Sat back in car to return gas card to purse. Returned to rear of car to hold nozzle. Fire flared up as she reached for the nozzle.

29

11-99

1990 Nissan XS

Nozzle in car. Latch-open device on. Punched in I.D.# on card system. Sat in car with door open with one foot on the ground. Reached for nozzle to disengage, and saw a spark, flash and flame from filler neck. Removed nozzle and threw it down. Pushed car away.

30

1-98

1997 Ford Crown Victoria

Started fueling. Sat back in car. Nozzle clicked off. Touched nozzle to remove it. Flash fire.

32

1-99

1991 Chevy Lumina

Driver turned off ignition, turned on pump and began to refuel. She then opened the driver’s side door and entered the car. Turned ignition switch to “on” (engine off) and watched the gas gauge. Got out of car and touched the nozzle to shut it off. Flames erupted.

 

Log #

Date

Yr./Make Vehicle

Description of Incident

36

12-99

Ford Pickup

Driver pulled up to an MPD, cleared the dispenser and placed the nozzle in the fuel tank. He was going to put $5 in the vehicle so he reentered the driver’s seat and closed the door while the fueling was in operation. When the dispenser was at $4, he opened the door on the pickup, stepped down to get out, and reached back to touch the nozzle. When he touched the nozzle there was a flash fire.

72

1-00

1999 Ford Pickup

Owner put nozzle in fuel tank and began fueling. As he got back in the truck, he touched the door and got a shock. He got out of the truck while it was still pumping (he wanted $20), touched the nozzle and a fire resulted.

73

12-99

1994 Mitsubishi

Turned on accessory. Filled to $19 and nozzle clicked off. Got out of car, touched the nozzle (never the car), and it flashed. Dropped nozzle on ground.

75

2-99

1993 Ford Probe

Pumping gas. Set auto fill. Got in car to get keys. Reached for nozzle to top off car and fire resulted. Car was almost full of gasoline.

76

2-99

1993 Dodge Caravan

Driver started fueling and got back in car. Nozzle shut off. As she touched the nozzle, she felt a shock and fire ensued.

78

2-00

1997 Honda Accord

Lady drove in, started fueling, reentered car, got out of car, closed door, touched nozzle with right hand. Flash.

81

Unknown

1999 Dodge Durango

Started fueling. Got back into vehicle. Got back out, reached for nozzle and a spark jumped from hand to nozzle, igniting the vapors.

84

4-00

1995 Ford Windstar

Fueling van on automatic. Driver reentered van to talk to a friend. Opened door and doesn’t remember if she shut it. Touched nozzle—or got close to it. Fire out fill neck. Turned off dispenser and ran to station to get extinguisher to put out flames.

 

Log #

Date

Yr./Make Vehicle

Description of Incident

88

3-00

2000 Chrysler Town & Country LX

Started fueling and left latch-open device on. Returned to van to get money. Shut door by grabbing window frame. Stood watching meter and touched nozzle. Flame went up left hand and continued for at least a minute. Shot out like a torch.

89

12-99

1998 Ford Mustang

Driver got out of vehicle, engine running, nozzle inserted. Walked back to vehicle to sit down. Left door open. Driver thought nozzle clicked off. Got out of vehicle. Two inches from nozzle saw a spark.

90

8-00

1995 Ford Escort

Turned off engine and exited vehicle, leaving door open. Removed nozzle from pump and placed in tank. Re-entered car to place credit card into wallet. Exited car to remove nozzle. Reached for nozzle. Entire nozzle was engulfed in flames. Fire followed hose to the dispenser.

91

4-92

1992 Chrysler Van

Fueling car. Sat in car as tank filled. Got out and reached for nozzle. Flash fire occurred, burning car and area on the ground around it.

93

11-99

2001 Chevy S-10

Began fueling. Returned to car to put credit card away. Got back out. As hand got close to the pump, heard the fire ignite. Fire burned hair and eyelashes.

99

8-01

1995 Chevy Lumina

Fueler set auto nozzle latch open. Entered back seat to see about baby buckled in car seat. While attempting to remove nozzle from tank blaze occurred at nozzle area.

100

9-01

1999 Dodge Durango

Put nozzle in vehicle and set for self-fill. Returned to vehicle to write check. While grabbing handle to remove nozzle, flames shot out and up the side of car.

103

2-02

1996 Z71 Chevrolet

Driver unscrewed gas cap and put nozzle into tank. Got back into vehicle to put credit card away. Got out of vehicle and attempted to touch the nozzle. Saw a large spark come out of the gas tank. When fire ignited it was a huge burst of flames.

 

Log #

Date

Yr./Make Vehicle

Description of Incident

104

3-02

1991 GMC Safari Van

Started fueling. Got back into vehicle to write a check. Got back out to manually finish pumping fuel. Left door open to hear two young children in vehicle. As soon as I grabbed nozzle flames were all around me.

105

3-02

1994 Geo Tracker

Driver started fueling on auto-cut-off. During fueling at passenger side rear of vehicle, he returned to driver’s side, entered car and returned without closing door to fueling side. When he removed nozzle from tank a fire ball erupted.

106

3-02

2001 Nissan Pathfinder

Driver got back into car to put something away. Got out to stop pump from fueling. Driver felt a shock and a whoosh sound. Flames were coming out of gas tank.

107

6-02

1996 Toyota Corolla

Started pumping gas. Got back into car because it was cold. Got out of car, reached for handle and felt a buzz. Saw a spark and a fire ignited at the entrance to the fuel line.

110

10-99

1995 Chevy ½ ton

Sitting inside vehicle while fueling. Stepped out of truck and immediately grabbed for handle to take out of tank. Fire shot out of gas tank.

113

8-01

Nissan Pathfinder Van

When fueling vehicle driver sat down in vehicle. When dispenser clicked off he returned to dispensing nozzle. Driver grabbed nozzle, felt static go up arm. Fire started coming out of fill hole by nozzle.

114

1-02

Not known

Driver started fueling and returned to vehicle. After fueling, she pulled nozzle out of car and fire started.

 

Log #

Date

Yr./Make Vehicle

Description of Incident

115

5-02

1987 Pontiac Firebird

Customer entered store to prepay for fuel. Driver returned to vehicle, put nozzle in tank and set auto-clip. She returned to vehicle, sat down in driver’s seat and left door open. As she went to remove nozzle there was a flash.

116

2-02

1999 Chevrolet Venture

Driver put gas in van and returned to vehicle because it was cold. As she pulled nozzle out, flames shot out of tank on to van, nozzle and ground.

117

11-00

1993 Subaru Legacy

Driver began filling tank and then engaged hold-open clip. She returned to car to put away debit card and then grabbed nozzle to disengage clip and continue filling. Driver felt a static spark as she grabbed nozzle and heard “whoosh” sound as fumes ignited.

118

10-99

Honda

Driver pumped gas, sat in car because it was cold, touched nozzle to release automatic and felt spark and saw flames.

120

1-02

1997 Ford F150

Customer paid clerk $20. Started nozzle pumping and got back into truck because it was cold. She noticed pump had passed $20 and jumped out to grab nozzle to stop gas. Vapors burst in a big fireball.

121

3-99

1991 Olds. Silhouette

Driver put nozzle in tank and set auto-fill. She returned to van to write a check and get out of cold and wind. Driver reached down to remove nozzle, saw a spark and fire came out of tank.

122

4-02

1994 Nissan Altima

Driver set nozzle to self-pump and returned to car. When fueling was complete driver returned to pull nozzle from tank. Flash of fire occurred around opening of gas tank.

127

3-01

1988 Chevy S-10

Customer was sitting in vehicle during the refueling process. When fueling was complete, customer exited vehicle and returned to nozzle. Driver felt shock when touching the pump. Truck caught fire.

 

Log#

Date

Yr./Make Vehicle

Description of Incident

131

9-02

1972 Chevrolet P/U

The victim was with a friend and both were filling their vehicles at the same time after a trip. He began filling his vehicle and walked to his friends pickup at the next pump. He had agreed to pay for the gas in the pickup. The owner of the pickup placed the nozzle in the fill opening located behind the driver’s door. He then stepped back from the vehicle. The victim stood in the open doorway of the driver’s side and reached in to retrieve his wallet. He had his wallet in the palm of his left hand as he placed his hand on the truck’s fabric seat cover. He then touched the cab of the truck close to the fill opening. He heard a “whoosh” sound as the fire occurred.

133

1-98

1995 Toyota 4-Runner

Driver began fueling and returned to drivers seat. Automatic shutoff had not occurred yet when he exited the vehicle. Reached for nozzle and static discharge occurred. Vapors ignited.

134

10-02

1992 Dodge Caravan

Customer started the fueling process and then got back inside the vehicle and sat down in the  seat. Driver then got out of the vehicle and reached for the nozzle. Vapors around her ignited, catching the vehicle on fire.

135

10-02

2001 Chevy Tahoe

Owner of a private fuel tank began fueling vehicle. Returned to front seat to log mileage. Returned to rear of vehicle to remove nozzle. As owner reached for the nozzle the gasoline fumes ignited totaling vehicle, tank, stand, hose and nozzle.

136

10-02

Plymouth Voyager

Driver started fueling process and returned to vehicle. Driver returned to manually finish fueling vehicle. Fire started.

138

5-19-01

1992 Olds Cutlass

Driver activated nozzle and used hold-open device. Returned to driver’s seat with door open. Driver exited vehicle and touched nozzle. Felt shock on hand and saw fire from nozzle.

139

4-02

1997 Buick 4-door

Driver left ignition turned to accessory, exited vehicle, inserted nozzle into fill pipe and put gas cap in handle to keep gas flowing. Went to driver position to watch gauge. Exited vehicle to return to fuel area. Flames erupted.

141

11-02

1998 Chevy Suburban

Driver began fueling. Placed nozzle on automatic. Returned to car. Reached for nozzle to stop fueling and fire erupted.

144

12-02

1997 Jeep Wrangler

Driver got into car after pumping gas. He returned when pump shut off and touched the dispenser. A small fire erupted.

145

12-02

2000 Mitsubishi Eclipse

Motorist began fueling and then reentered vehicle front seat. Driver exited vehicle and proceeded to rear of car. When she reached filler spout with hose in it, she leaned over to listen to see if fuel was flowing into the fuel tank. There was an instantaneous flash fire.

146

12-02

2000 Toyota 4-Runner

Driver started pumping gas and went back inside the vehicle. Driver exited vehicle and touched nozzle. Fire started.

147

12-02

Dodge Caravan

Driver started pumping gas and returned to vehicle. When pump showed almost $10 driver jumped out and grabbed nozzle. Spark occurred and fire erupted from tank fill port.

148 1-03 1991 Subaru Legacy Customer began filling car with gas. Got back in car, got out and grabbed nozzle, felt shock and saw flames.
149 1-03 1990 Cadillac Eldorado Gasoline station attendant put hose in gas tank and proceeded to fill the tank. Customer upset because cap was placed on top of trunk of vintage Cadillac, got out of car to remove it and place it on the door to the gas tank. When driver placed the cap on the door cover, he felt a shock which produced flames at the fill pipe.    
151 1-03 1994 Ford Escort Wagon Customers niece started fueling vehicle. She got back into car. When nozzle clicked off she got out of car and touched the nozzle. She saw a spark and fire started.
152 11-00 1997 Buick LeSabre Driver sat down in car while fueling vehicle. Driver then touched nozzle while fuel was still dispensing. Fumes ignited.

154

4-03 1996 Dodge Gr. Caravan Driver started fueling, got back in car, got out, touched nozzle to remove. Flames.
156 12-01 1997 Chevy Van The driver exited the car, began fueling and returned to vehicle due to cold weather. Driver exited for the second time and removed the gas nozzle after filling up. The spark from her hand to the nozzle started the fire.
157 10-98 1996 Chevy Pickup Driver inserted hose to begin fueling. Driver returned to sit on seat with door open and legs resting on running boards. When gauge approached full, driver stepped out and attempted to pull nozzle out. Static popped off fingers and a ring of flames formed around nozzle.
159 11-03 2000 Nissan Pathfinder Driver fueling car. Returned to vehicle because it was cold. When fueling was finished driver exited car and touched nozzle. Nozzle sparked and a fire ball occurred.
160 11-03 2003 Ford Expedition Driver started fueling, got back in vehicle, got out to remove nozzle, flash fire occurred.
162 1-04 SUV While driver inside vehicle, the nozzle overflowed. Driver tried to grab the handle and flames shot out.
163 12-03 1998 Ford Ranger Driver started fueling process and returned to car to wait while the vehicle fueled. When driver returned and attempted to reach the nozzle she felt a charge from her palm and saw an explosion.
164 12-03 1996 Chevy Pickup Driver exited vehicle to start fueling. Driver returned to truck to sit down. When fuel reached $29, driver got out, touched the nozzle and saw fire.
165 1-04 1994 Honda Civic Driver inserted nozzle to fuel car and returned to car to wait for fueling. After fueling completed, driver exited car and touched handle of pump. After flame occurred driver removed handle and ran to station to report fire.
167 2-04 Unknown Driver exited vehicle, removed gas cap and put nozzle in fuel port to begin fueling. Driver got back into vehicle and sat down. Driver then exited vehicle and attempted to remove the nozzle. As soon as driver touched the nozzle, flames erupted.
169 5-04 1996 Isuzu Trooper Driver placed nozzle into vehicle and returned to the car to sit with 5-year old son. As fuel approached the $30 mark, driver slid out of the car and reached for the nozzle. Driver saw a spark leap from her hand to the nozzle, which ignited in flames.
171 2-24-06 Unknown A lady was fueling her car. She opened the door to put her purse back inside her vehicle. When she returned, the pump caught fire.

 

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53 Fires Reported to PEI Where Refueler Did Not Reenter the Vehicle and/or Touch the Nozzle During Refueling

Log #

Date

Yr./Make Vehicle

Description of Incident

7

11-99

Dodge Caravan

Customer got in car and saw flames shooting out of the filler neck.

8

11-99

Geo Prizm

It was chilly that morning and the driver got out of his truck and put on a nylon jacket. He held the nozzle and fire traveled up the driver’s arm.

10

2-00

1998 Pontiac Sunbird

Customer began fueling, returned to inside of the car, got out of the car and flash occurred as she approached the right quarter panel. She never touched the nozzle. This is on video.

14

6-99

1984 Ford Bronco II

Fueler was standing between the pump and vehicle when he noticed flames at eye level.

8 ½ gallons were dispensed.

17

1-00

1999 Ford F-150

Began fueling, got back into vehicle, saw dispenser was near amount she wanted to purchase, jumped out of vehicle to shut off the nozzle and said, “It is on fire.”

20

10-97

1991 Chevy Lumina

Driver was sitting in her vehicle when the nozzle shut off and the fire occurred. She saw it in her rear view mirror.

24

7-98

1997 Dodge Ram Pick-up Truck

Placed nozzle, attached to aboveground storage tank, in fuel port of car and started fueling. Went into the shop to consult colleague. Noticed smoke and then a fire. No sign of spilled fuel.

31

12-99

Honda Accord

Popped the lid to her gas tank before getting out of the car, then walked over to fill port and flipped the lid open with her key. The gas cap was never opened. Flames engulfed her car.

33

12-99

1994 Dodge Pickup

Customer began to fuel at #4 dispenser and fire erupted. Customer pulled back, put nozzle away, and went into store. Clerk hit E-Stop. Fire went out.

 

Log #

Date

Yr./Make Vehicle

Description of Incident

34

4-99

1999 Dodge Dakota

Started fueling and set the hold-open latch. Returned to cab to check purse for money. Remained outside the vehicle. Returned to fill port and shut off nozzle. Noticed flames as soon as the nozzle was released.

37

5-98

1989 Ford 70 passenger school bus

Bus pulled up beside dispenser, driver turned dispenser on and as soon as nozzle was opened, flash occurred.

71

1-00

1999 Ford Expedition SUV

Inserted nozzle. Started pump. One hand on vehicle and one on nozzle. Looked at dispenser. Arm holding nozzle got warm. 3 to 5 foot flame.

74

1-00

1988 Chevy Silverado

Turned truck off. Nozzle in truck. Got inside vehicle and put on accessory to listen to radio. Dispensed $6 and saw fire coming from side of truck.

77

2-00

1987 Honda Civic

The customer removed the gas cap and the fumes ignited.

79

5-96

1992 Honda Accord

My son went from the rider’s side of the car, opened the fuel door, and unscrewed the cap. Took the nozzle from the dispenser and put it in car. Before dispensing began, flames shot out like a dragon shooting out fire.

80

2-00

1999 or 2000 Honda CRV

A woman was in the process of refueling her Honda CRV. She put $10 in when a flashback occurred.

83

Winter, 1999

1994 Dodge Caravan

I put the nozzle in tank, clicked it to pump itself, and sat back down in van. I stepped out of my van and turned toward the nozzle and there was fire coming out of the end of the nozzle and flames were shooting over the top of the van. I never touched the nozzle the second time before the fire.

85

2-00

Unknown

Motorist got out of car and touched gas cap. Explosion and fire.

 

Log #

Date

Yr./Make Vehicle

Description of Incident

86

3-00

SUV

Fueling with hold-open clip on. During the process, she was petting her small dog which had just returned from groomers. Put dog down, touched nozzle and fire started.

92

4-95

1987 Mazda Pickup

While fueling, heard popping sound and fire started coming out of nozzle.

94

8-00

2000 Toyota Sienna Van

Started fueling vehicle. Driver cleaned windows then reached for nozzle to take off automatic. Fire started.

95

2-01

2000 Nissan Maxima

Driver noticed static shock when getting out of car. When he removed gas cap, flames shot out.

96

2-01

1997 Mazda Protégé

16 year old girl began to fuel car. Got back in and sat down. Got out and shut door. Stood against car watching the dispenser. Grabbed the nozzle. It was too hot to hold. Dropped nozzle and gasoline spilled. Caught fire and burned the car.

97

2-01

1992 Chevy Lumina

Driver set auto-fill on nozzle. Started to get back in vehicle and flames appeared.

98

2-01

1999 Ford Windstar

Customer was pumping fuel, heard spark and flames appeared.

101

1-02

1991 Suzuki Sidekick

Upon removal of gas cap, fire shot out.

102

2-02

1996 Toyota Corolla

Driver opened fuel door, turned gas cap and a flash fire occurred.

108

6-02

1996 Ford Contour

Removed gas cap prior to going in to pay. Driver leaned against car while fueling. Fire started after 10 gallons were pumped.

109

2-01

1994 Toyota Maxima

Vapors ignited while pumping fuel.

111

3-99

1994 Chevy Camaro

Flash from fuel port. When nozzle was pulled out fuel went everywhere and caught fire.

119

3-02

2000 Honda Odyssey

Driver turned off the motor. While removing the gas cap, a flame of fire burst out of tank.

 

Log #

Date

Yr./Make Vehicle

Description of Incident

123

5-02

1992 Subaru Legacy

Driver reached for gas cap when static spark jumped from finger to area around gas cap. Small flame ignited around gas cap.

124

8-02

1993 Dodge Caravan

Driver got out of van and turned gas cap ¼ to ½ turn. Flames shot out around gas cap.

125

4-02

Ford Aerostar

Driver filled up car. While driving away, noticed gas cap still lying on seat of car. Stopped car, got out to put cap back on. Gas tank erupted in fire.

126

11-97

1994 Nissan Altima

Driver pulled up to pump, pulled the lever inside the vehicle that opens the lid and got out of the vehicle. Driver quickly untwisted the plastic gas cap, heard air rush out, and placed the plastic cap in the inside lid holder. Fire ignited from the car.

128

5-98

1990 passenger car

Driver exited vehicle and unscrewed gas cap. Fire 4 inches high started around gas port.

129

2-02

Mid-size sedan

Driver got out of car. Vapors ignited when gas cap was removed.

130

2000

1993 Subaru Legacy

As driver unscrewed the gas cap fire flashed  flames about a foot.

132

9-02

2001 Honda Civic EX

Driver turned the gas cap to begin fueling and saw a flame.

137

11-96

1996 Pontiac Firebird

Passenger got out of vehicle and removed gas cap to begin fueling. He was standing between pump and vehicle with right hand near nozzle when flames shot up from fuel port.

140

9-02

Subaru

Fire occurred when customer removed fuel cap.

142

12-00

Nissan Altima

Driver pumping gasoline and heard a sound like a strong wind. Flames were coming from gas tank.

 143

12-02

2001 Ford F-250

After placing nozzle in the fuel fill port and locking it in the open position, driver opened driver’s door to get in due to cold weather. While exiting the vehicle he noticed a small fire around fuel intake port and nozzle.

 150

  1-03 1990 Honda Accord Driver proceeded to twist off gas cap. Fire came shooting out and stayed lit until put out with a fire extinguisher.

153

6-03

2000 Honda Civic

Driver was unscrewing gas cap 1/4 turn. Small blue flame came out from around the cap.

155

2-03

1997 Ford
F-150 Truck
Driver exited the vehicle and observed fire at the gas filler to the gas tank. Driver did not touch the nozzle. Continuity was verified on the dispensing equipment.

157

2-02

1994 Chevy
Lumina
Fueled car. Fire occurred as pump handle was removed from car. Flames shot out.

161

12-03

Unknown Driver exited car and opened door to fill pipe. As she removed gas cap a fire four to five feet erupted.

170

1-05

Honda CRV Driver felt a small shock when removing the gas cap. Flames started coming out of the refueling hole. Flames shot out about 8 inches.
172

3-05

Cat Excavator

Lifted nozzle to check for flow. The tank was near empty. Vapors rising from the tank. Flash fire occurred.
173 1-06

93 Mazda Protege

Driver backed up to the pump. Turned off ignition. Popped gas tank lever and got out of the car. Turned the gas tank lid 1/4 turn. Fire blazed out of tank.
174 9-00

Unknown

Came out of station. Fire started out the side of my car. When I pulled the nozzle out, it sprayed gas all over the car.
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Fires Reported by Respondents to the
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Vehicle
Owner’s Questionnaire (VOQ)

Thirty-Four (34) Vehicle Owner’s Questionnaires (VOQs) from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s database contained enough pertinent information to be included in this compilation. Seventeen (17) VOQs described fires that occurred before, during or immediately after the gas cap was removed and before fueling began. Although technically not a refueling fire, they are included because they describe fires that occurred during the first step of the refueling process. Descriptions of events leading up to the 17 fires are included under the sheet entitled NHTSA’S GAS CAP FIRES.

The other 17 fires described in the VOQs are all refueling fires and appear to have fact patterns similar to those received by PEI. We have not been able to verify that the cause(s) of these 17 fires were not due to smoking, an engine on, or lack of electrical continuity between the nozzle and dispenser. This is because incomplete information was contained in the VOQs and we were unable to contact the victims to "fill in the blanks," since the VOQs do not identify those who submitted the reports. Descriptions of the fire events can be found under the sheet entitled NHTSA’S 17 OTHER REFUELING FIRES. The reader of this report can decide the relative value of this information to the overall study.

 

NHTSA’S GAS CAP FIRES

Log #

Date

Yr./Make Vehicle

Description of Incident

46

5-23-97

1997 Dodge Caravan

I was going to put gas in and as I was taking the gas cap off flames were coming out from under the gas cap. They were orange and blue.

49

11-25-98

1991 Toyota Camry

About to put gas in vehicle, gas tank seemed to result in a combustion, and flames came out of tank. No fuel leak.

50

3-1-94

1993 Subaru Legacy

Owner took gas cap off, heard a hissing sound and a few seconds later there were flames shooting out of the vehicle.

52

2-2-95

1994 Mazda Protégé

Turned the gas cap and flames shot out from tank.

53

3-30-95

1993 Mazda Protégé

After turning the gas cap, the gas tank opening ignited. The cap had only been turned slightly before it ignited.

54

12-16-96

1993 Mazda Protégé

Flames were coming out of the fuel tank when the cap was removed.

56

4-3-97

1997 Honda Civic

When taking the gas cap off of the fuel tank, flames were coming out of the tank around the filler neck.

57

2-3-94

1991 Toyota Corolla

Owner took gas cap off to get gas and flames shot out of truck. Fire department said it was a short in the fuel pump.

58

9-26-93

1993 Toyota Corolla

1/8 full. Fire inside the tank when the cap was removed.

59

11-15-98

1996 Toyota Corolla

I turned the gas cap to remove it before filling the car, flames shot out of the gas tank (full description provided).

61

3-2-95

1993 Toyota Previa Truck

Removed gas cap to fill, flames burst out of gas tank.

 

62

4-12-97

1992 Toyota Previa

When opening fuel filler tank cap, a flame shot out from it.

63

5-18-94

1991 Toyota Truck Land Cruiser

While unscrewing the gas cap to pump gas, the gas tank burst into flames at a gas station.

66

2-27-99

1999 Jeep Wrangler

I took the gas cap off to fill up, noticed a fire in the gas tank and in an instant, flames shot out (full description provided).

67

Unknown

1995 Isuzu Trooper Truck

Upon removing pressure vacuum relief filler cap, flames spewed out of the filler neck.

68

Unknown

1991 Toyota Truck-Previa

Upon unscrewing pressure vacuum filler cap, flames spewed from filler neck for 5-7 seconds.

69

2-24-99

1992 Toyota Camry

When removing the gas cap at the gas station, a flame shot out of the tank after one turn of the cap.

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17 Fires While Removing Gasoline Cap – NHTSA

Make and Model of Vehicles Involved

2

Toyota Camry (1991, 1992)

3

Toyota Corolla (1991, 1993, 1996)

3

Toyota Previa (1991, 1992, 1993)

1

Toyota Land Cruiser (1991)

3

Mazda Protégé (2-1993, 1994)

1

Dodge Caravan (1997)

1

Subaru Legacy (1993)

1

Honda Civic (1997)

1

Jeep Wrangler (1999)

1

Isuzu Truck Trooper (1995)

 

NHTSA’S 17 OTHER REFUELING FIRES

Log #

Date

Yr./Make Vehicle

Description of Incident

 

42

4-15-95

1994 F150 Ford Truck

While fueling gas tank, flames/fire suddenly appear from gas tank hole. Static discharge caused gas flames to ignite from gas tank, resulting in a fire.

44

3-1-97

1996 Chevy Suburban

Consumer was filling the vehicle with fuel and there was some type of electrical static and the vehicle caught fire around the filler neck.

5

11-99

1999 Ford Windstar

Started fueling. Went back into car to get money. During that time the automatic nozzle clicked off. Went to pump more and it sparked between the nozzle and her hand.

38

11-30-99

1992 Dodge Caravan

While filling the fuel tank, a fire erupted due to the fumes coming from the tank, possibly from static electricity. The Dodge distributor suggested I let them install a ground strap on the fuel filler neck of the fuel tank.

39

2-23-99

1991 Geo Prizm

As I stopped at a gas station and attempted to fill up with gas, my jacket sleeve caught on fire from flames coming out from the tank.

40

4-20-95

1994 Geo Prizm

Flames around opening of gas tank.

43

8-9-96

1996 Ford Taurus

Pulled into gas station, filled tank, as hand touched pump nozzle fuel tank burst into flames.

45

11-21-98

1997 Chevy Cavalier

While filling gas tank the check engine light is on, vehicle caught fire in fuel tank, which caused injuries.

47

12-9-95

1996 Dodge Caravan Truck

Fire ignited inside or outside of tank while filling tank; flames started shooting out of gas tank, gas nozzle caught fire, thrown to ground, ground caught fire.

 

48

2-3-96

1996 Dodge Caravan

I started to fill up at the pump. I saw a flash as I put the tip of the gas hose into the opening of the tank. Not a second later, flames came from out of the tank. I immediately removed the hose from the tank, even though the tip of the hose still had flames in it. Pulling the hose out as fast as I could, gas spilled on the ground near the van and other pumps, and caught the ground on fire.

51

3-12-97

1995 Pontiac Transport

After filling the vehicle with fuel and removing the nozzle, the vehicle caught on fire around the filler neck.

55

11-16-99

1999 Honda Odyssey

While filling the van with fuel, it caught fire and burned.

60

8-3-99

1996 Toyota Corolla

Fire occurred at gas nozzle, which was 3-5 seconds into the fueling process.

64

11-12-96

1994 Dodge Caravan

When refueling vehicle at the fuel filler pipe neck, a spark occurred, causing a fire.

65

9-30-95

1995 Dodge Neon

Fuel tank filler pipe caught fire when filling up the tank.

70

Unknown

1996 Audi S6

While refueling with the engine off, a flame shot out of the gas tank.

85

3-8-00

2000 Ford F150 Truck

Vehicle experienced a fire while consumer’s son was filling the fuel tank at a gas station. Local fire department arrived and extinguished the fire. Fire Department informed consumer that static electricity may have been cause of fire.

       

Stop Static.

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©2006 Petroleum Equipment Institute