UPDATE–Worker, Fire Crews ‘Save’ Store from Disaster in Big Gas Pump Fire
The quick actions of a Kennewick store clerk and amazing response time from Kennewick Fire Units likely averted a Hollywood-like gas pump explosion disaster Thursday morning.
WHAT LED TO BRIEF BUT SPECTACULAR FIRE?
Around 9:20 AM Police and Fire responded to the Circle K Convenience store at the corner of Kellogg and Clearwater, for a report of a fire.
Upon arrival, I happened to be there as I was driving west on Clearwater, there was a wall of flame engulfing almost the entire four-pump 'island', and part of the white car pictured in our story.
The Officer directing traffic didn't have a lot of details, but said apparently the white car seen in our image "hit the gas pump," triggering the blaze.
UPDATE--Kennewick Police say crash and fire were hit-and-run--see new information below.
However, thanks to the quick thinking of the store worker it wasn't worse. A Kennewick Officer diverting traffic on Kellogg north of the store said the clerk hit the main gas pump kill switch almost immediately after the flames shot up.
It took a while for the gas already in the system to burn off in spectacular fashion, and Kennewick Fire crews splashed it out in literally less than 30 seconds. A HUGE plume of white smoke rolled up, then it was out. I was not allowed to get too close, but the damage to the island looked extensive, it looked all black.
The Officer directing traffic didn't have a lot of details but said apparently the white car seen in our image "hit the gas pump," triggering the blaze.
We don't know what led up to the collision, if the driver's foot slipped or they were turning around close to the pump to get their gas intake on the 'right' side, but as we were leaving, Fire and Police investigators were working the scene.
It is not known how long the pumps will be shut down, as the master kills switch turns off everything out on the lot. Fortunately, no one was hurt.
UPDATE---new information being reported by TV station KEPR CBS says the situation is a hit-and-run. However, no word if the offending drive fled the scene in their car. KPD says one vehicle hit another, causing it to strike the gas pump and trigger the fire.
Speaking of disasters or near disasters...