No one was injured this afternoon when a Ford pickup caught fire at a North Carson fueling station.
Fire Chief Stacey Giomi said the most probable cause of the fire was static electricity igniting gasoline vapors.
The CFN card-lock station, at North Carson and Adaline streets, and the pickup were destroyed.
"It looked like he pulled the nozzle out and threw it down real fast," said Drew Seitz, who worksn across the street at Kragen. "I looked back and the whole side of the truck, the pumps and the ground were on fire. It looked like he tried to get back into the truck to move it, but by then the pumps were on fire, the truck was engulfed in fire and the tires were blowing up off the the truck. It was pretty bad."
Motioning toward the remaining shards of the pumps and truck, Seitz said the whole thing took about six or seven minutes.
"I ran back inside to get a fire extinguisher, but when I came back it was too late. I watched from across the street. You could feel the heat from across the street," he said.
Seitz said the driver of the truck was running out into Carson Street trying to find a fire extinguisher and trying to stop traffic.
Giomi said only a small amount of fuel is in the pumps, only what is left in the hose and the pipe running from the pump into the storage tanks below ground. He said that fires at gas pumps are commonly caused by static electricity.
Most of the gasoline that burned was from the tank on the pickup. Giomi said the potential to create a spark during fueling exists at all times. To prevent a spark, he said, it is important to keep the nozzle of the hose in contact with the automobile during fueling as this grounds the electric charge.
"It doesn't take much to ignite gasoline," he said. "Anything electric " a spark, your cell phone " can cause the vapors to ignite."