Car Hits Martinez Gas Pump, Erupts in Flames

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    NEWSLETTERS

    The fire started when a car lost control as it was backing up to a pump at the Flax Oil station on Alhambra Avenue and Virginia Hills Drive. The pump immediately burst into flames, gutting the car and another one filling up at a neighboring pump. (Published Thursday, Sep 20, 2012)

    A Martinez gas station is closed for several days after a crash outside caused a fire that destroyed two cars.

    The fire started when a car lost control as it was backing up to a pump at the Flax Oil station on Alhambra Avenue and Virginia Hills Drive. The pump immediately burst into flames, gutting the car and another one filling up at a neighboring pump.

    Paul Burg, the station manager, says he heard the crash and saw the smoke.

    "As soon as I saw the smoke, I ran out and hit the emergency shut-off switch and started screaming at the top of my lungs 'everybody get the hell out of here!' Luckily they listened and took off and ran."

    Firefighters got to the gas station within five minutes and were able to knock down the flames. The people inside the car were able to get out, and no one was hurt.

    "I left ten seconds before it happened, and there were six people in the gas station waiting to pay," said customer Mary Koenig. "It's amazing no one was killed."

    Police briefly took the driver into custody. After a preliminary investigation, officers say the driver likely mistook the accelerator for the brake and lost control of the car.

    The gas station will be closed for some time while crews repair the damage.