Man catches fire at WPB gas station - Fox29 WFLX TV, West Palm Beach, FL-news & weather

Man catches fire at WPB gas station

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By Al Pefly email
Posted by Rachel Leigh email

WEST PALM BEACH, FL (WFLX) - A man is horribly burned at a gasoline station; West Palm Beach police say he was filling an illegal gas tank in the back of his van.

The gas station has reopened after being closed for several hours Monday afternoon. Police say there was no explosion, but they describe the incident as "a flash fire".

Police and fire trucks swarmed the BP Gas Station at Belvedere and Bristol Drive across from Palm Beach International Airport about 12:30 Monday afternoon.

Investigators say a man in a white van was filling what they describe as an "illegal, homemade" 200 gallon container with gasoline. It looks like a rectangular box mounted in the back of the van.

They say the container had some sort of pump system on it, and it caused a spark igniting the gasoline. The motorist, who was filling this container, suffered third degree burns on his hands and fingers and second degree burns on about 20-percent of his body.

Firefighters and police evacuated the area including a nearby convenience store and a Burger King.

Louis Yeatts, who works in an office complex across the street, can't believe the guy filling that illegal gas tank would put so many other innocent people in danger. "I can't image anybody in their right mind doin' anything like that. I mean, I don't think he was thinking about other people around him. That's a lot of gasoline there, and we're real close. It's a lot of people around here!"

Police say it was some sort of homemade or rigged device that was constructed in the back of the van. The employees at the gas station quickly shut off the pump and called the fire department.

The man's name and age were not available, but, police say, he will face criminal charges. He was sent to a burn unit in Gainesville.

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