Static alacrity

Quicke Mart pump damaged in fire
Rappahannock News Staff Photo/Roger Piantadosi

A larger catastrophe was averted at the Quicke Mart on U.S. 211 last week thanks to the quick thinking of two men (neither of whom wanted to be identified), according to Paul Baldwin, owner of the Shell franchise. Baldwin said the driver of a vehicle, which had caught fire when he touched a static-charged hand to the nozzle after rising from his front seat without touching any other surface first, immediately beat the flames out with his coat and drove his truck, just filled with $70 worth of gasoline, far from the pumps, where he managed to extinguish the remaining flames. Meanwhile, another quick-moving customer grabbed a fire extinguisher and put out the flames at the pump. Baldwin said he was grateful to both – and to the Washington Volunteer Fire squad, which arrived within minutes. “In 25 years in retail, I’ve heard about this happening but I’d never actually seen it,” said Baldwin, who added that safety shutoff valves below the pump and at the top of the hose worked as designed. The pump should be replaced in the next week or so, he said.

Roger Piantadosi
About Roger Piantadosi 545 Articles
Former Rappahannock News editor Roger Piantadosi is a writer and works on web and video projects for Rappahannock Media and his own Synergist Media company. Before joining the News in 2009, he was a staff writer, editor and web developer at The Washington Post for almost 30 years.