At least one case publicized in the national news, and one in Ames within the past month, demonstrated the dangers of fire at a self-serve gas pump. Ron Marr, executive vice-president of the Iowa Petroleum Marketing Association, says the culprit is the same phenomenon that gives you a shock touching things in cold weather. You get back in the car while gas pumps and when you get back out, sliding across the seat, you build up static electricity and when you touch the nozzle that spark ignites fumes that came out during the fueling process. Marr says it’s not a wise idea to get back into your car while filling the tank. If you do, he says touch the car or the pump before your haqnd touches the nozzle, and if there is a fire, get away. Marr says a lot of people don’t know it but every station has an emergency shutoff for the gasoline. It’s usually a big red well-marked switch or button, or in a station with an attendant it’ll be inside the office…never at the pump where the fire may occur.
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