06 July 2016

Recent Accidents At Malaysian Petrol Kiosks

The incident at Setapak Indah involved a 25 year old lady teacher from Batu Caves. Source: The Sun Daily

Setapak Indah: 25 year old victim

On 28th June 2016, a 25 year old woman "suffered serious burns all over her body at a petrol station in Setapak Indah ... after she took a call on her handphone inside her carwhile filling it up with petrol. An explosive burst of flames lasting just a second was all it took to severely torch the teacher from Batu Caves." (Source: The Sun, 29th June, 2016. Page 3)

The incident occurred at about 1.25pm. Firemen arrived in 10 minutes to find the lady in "a semi-conscious state in the rear passenger seat". She had suffered from 60% burns all over her body.

The woman had been seen filling up her car when her cellphone (on the rear passenger seat) rang. She locked the fuel nozzle trigger and entered the car to answer the call. She closed the door and picked up the call. Immediately, there was a loud explosion and flames engulfed the interior of the car for a few seconds.

Authorities believe that petrol fumes had entered the car during the refuelling process. Static electricity from the mobile phone had sparked the fumes.

The incident at a Kuala Krai petrol station involved a 7 year old boy who had been fiddling with a cigarette lighter. Source: Daily Mail UK.

Kuala Krai: 7 year old victim

On 24th June, 2016, a 7 year old boy was "left with severe burns to his face after the car he was in exploded while he was playing with a lighter at a petrol station." (Source: The Daily Mail, 25th June 2016.)

The boy's mother had been filling up the car. The boy had been "fiddling with a cigarette lighter in the rear seat of his mother's car". (Source: The Sun Daily, 28th June 2016.)

When the explosion occurred, the boy's mother was shocked. She managed to rescue her son from the burning car. Petrol station staff helped put out the blaze with extinguishers.

The Daily Mail showed pictures of the 7 year old boy with severe burns to his face, body, and legs. (Out of courtesy, they are not posted here.)

My Thoughts

This is an image of a hot air vent for cars.
It would be good if we can reduce petrol fumes in the car, especially during refilling at petrol stations. Perhaps owners can consider having a special exhaust fan installed in the passenger door. Some hot air vents already exist in the market. However, these fans have an electrical motor, which might spark off the fumes. (True / False? Need feedback to confirm.) 

Are kitchen hoods a solution to the petrol fume problem?

Perhaps petrol stations can incorporate kitchen hoods into their filling stations. Kitchen hoods have fans to carry away oily fumes, thus keeping the kitchen relatively grease-free (compared to if there were no kitchen hood installed). A "petrol kiosk kitchen hood" could carry away explosive fumes from the car. The solution is untested, but kitchen hoods are expensive.

A third solution might be to have a fire suppression system installed on the interior of the car. It's certainly out of the question for smaller vehicles, but it might be viable in a larger vehicle. It would not be practical if it can be set off by car passengers who smoke. It seems that some buses in the USA have an automatic water mist fire extinguisher system to put out fires in the engine compartment. You can check Google for "bus fire suppression system".



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