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Static Electricity and Gas Pump Fires

Discussion in 'General Chit-Chat' started by DanR, Mar 27, 2022.

  1. DanR

    DanR Diamond Level Sponsor


    Static Electricity and Gas Pump Fires

    The Shell Oil Company recently issued a warning after three incidents in which mobile phones (cell phones) ignited fumes during fueling operations.

    In the first case, the phone was placed on the car's trunk lid during fueling; it rang and the ensuing fire destroyed the car and the gasoline pump.

    In the second, an individual suffered severe burns to their face when fumes ignited as they answered a call while refueling their car!

    And in the third, an individual suffered burns to the thigh and groin as fumes ignited when the phone, which was in their pocket, rang while they were fueling their car.

    You should know that Mobile Phones can ignite fuel or fumes. Mobile phones that light up when switched on or when they ring release enough energy to provide a spark for ignition.

    Mobile phones should not be used in filling stations, or when fueling lawn mowers, boat, etc.

    Mobile phones should not be used, or should be turned off, around other materials that generate flammable or explosive fumes or dust, (i.e., solvents, chemicals, gases, grain dust, etc.)

    To sum it up, here are the Four Rules for Safe Refueling:

    1) Turn off engine

    2) Don't smoke

    3) Don't use your cell phone - leave it inside the vehicle or turn it off

    4) Don't re-enter your vehicle during fueling.

    Bob Renkes of Petroleum Equipment Institute is working on a campaign to try and make people aware of fires as a result of static electricity at gas pumps. His company has researched 150 cases of these fires.

    His results were very surprising:

    1) Out of 150 cases, many of them were womenlikely because of the kind of fabric in dresses that generates static when rubbed against car seats.

    2) Almost all cases involved the person getting back into their vehicle while the nozzle was still pumping gas. When finished, they went back to pull the nozzle out and the fire started, as a result of a static spark from their bodies from sliding out of the vehicle .

    3) Most had on rubber-soled shoes.

    4) Most men never get back in their vehicle until completely finished. This is why they are seldom involved in these types of fires.

    5) Don't ever use cell phones when pumping gas

    6) It is the vapors that come out of the gas that cause the fire, when connected with static charges.

    7) There were 29 fires where the vehicle was re-entered tner the nozzle was touched during refueling from a variety of makes and models. Some resulted in extensive damage to the vehicle, to the station, and to the customer.

    8) Seventeen fires occurred before, during or immediately after the gas cap was removed and before fueling began.

    Mr. Renkes stresses you should NEVER get back into your vehicle while filling it with gas. If you absolutely HAVE to get into your vehicle while the gas is pumping, make sure you get out, close the door TOUCHING THE METAL, before you ever pull the nozzle out the static from your body will be discharged before you ever remove the nozzle.

    As I mentioned earlier, companies now are really trying to make the public aware of this danger.

    Pass this along to others—
  2. Barry

    Barry Platinum Level Sponsor

    Last edited: Mar 27, 2022
    loose_electron and DanR like this.
  3. Mike O'D

    Mike O'D Gold Level Sponsor

    I wouldn't want to dip my phone in a bucket of water, but they are extremely well sealed these days. I would say that no way they could ignite flammable vapors - especially out in the open where it would quickly disperse.
  4. loose_electron

    loose_electron Gold Level Sponsor

    This is probably an urban legend.

    Modern cell phones really don't have much inside that would ever spark.

    Some older cell phone used electromechanical buzzers (20+ years ago) and some modern phones have had problems with batteries and charging circuits that caused battery fires (both Apple phones and Samsun Note phones are guilty of this)

    But, a phone spark causing a gas fumes fire, during regular use?
    I really doubt it.

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