Woman using handphone at petrol station causes blast

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Photo credit: Oriental Daily

PETALING JAYA: A woman suffered 60% burns to her body in an explosion, after she used her handphone while filling up petrol in Setapak Indah, Kuala Lumpur.

According to the Wangsa Maju Fire and Rescue Department, they received a distress call at 1.30pm of an explosion at the petrol station.

Upon arrival, they discovered that the explosion occurred in a Perodua Axia.

“The cause of the explosion stemmed from the victim, who is in her 20s, using her handphone while filling up petrol.”

The victim suffered 60% burns to her body and was rushed to the nearest hospital.

The use of handphones is prohibited at petrol stations.

In the past, it has been reported that the use of handphones while filling up petrol was dangerous, as it could ignite fuel vapours.

Robert Renkes, a spokesman for the Petroleum Equipment Institute, was previously quoted as saying: “We have not found a cell phone responsible for any fire since the beginning of mankind.”

The Petroleum Equipment Institute says a build-up of static electricity can be caused by re-entering a vehicle during fuelling, particularly in cool or cold and dry weather.

It says the static may discharge at the fill point, causing a flash fire or small sustained fire with gasoline refuelling vapours.

Motorists who cannot avoid getting back into the vehicle should always first touch a metal part of the vehicle with a bare hand, such as the door, or some other metal surface, away from the fill point upon exiting the vehicle, it states.

The popular Mythbusters TV show tried to make a mobile phone explode in a chamber full of petrol vapour but failed.

The SunDaily quoted Wangsa Maju Fire and Rescue Department operations officer R Manogaran as saying the victim was refuelling her car when she heard her cellphone ringing on the rear seat.

He said the woman, a teacher from Batu Caves, was believed to have locked the trigger of the fuel nozzle to continue refuelling before entering her car.

“On getting into the back seat, she shut the car door and picked up the call. Witnesses told us that there was a loud explosion and a burst of flames inside the closed door that lasted just seconds.

“The heat of the ball of fire inside was so intense that it caused the victim severe burns. There was fire damage to the interior of the car,” he said.