Misstep burns van, damages store

A North Dakota man found out the hard way that it is not a good idea to fill a gas can inside a van.

According to Carson City Assistant Fire Chief Steve Mihelic, Mark Lanmo of Hudson, N.D., was filling a plastic gas can at about 9:30 a.m. inside his Chevrolet van when a spark ignited the gasoline at the 7-Eleven on North Carson Street.

In an effort to pull the gas can out of the van, gasoline and flames were spread throughout the rear of the van.

Lanmo declined to comment at the scene.

"He was filling it up and it went boom," said Larry Inman, of Carson City. "A brave man tried to save the van by pulling the container out. He pulled the container out and the gas spilled all over the back of the van."

Clerk Tim More was working inside the 7-Eleven when he heard somebody say fire.

"I looked up and saw flames and hit the stop pump," he said. "Then I ran out with a fire extinguisher and tried to put it out."

More said he was driven back by the heat from the fire, which reached up and burned the awning over the gas pumps.

"Luckily, it didn't blow up," he said. "This wouldn't be a good day to die."

Inman said the van was still on fire when the first fire units arrived.

"The men from the first fire truck got it out," he said. "They were very efficient."

Mihelic said the carpet in the bed of the van insulated the can from the ground, so that static discharged from the end of the nozzle igniting gas fumes.

"People need to remember to take the container out of the vehicle and put it on the ground," he said.

Nearby businesses were evacuated during the worst of the blaze and crews closed College Parkway.


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