I-Team 10: Gas stations safety
Posted at: 09/17/2013 5:12 PM
| Updated at: 09/17/2013 5:18 PM
By: Berkeley Brean | WHEC.com
Could it put you in jeopardy? The state is considering removing safety equipment from all gas stations.
A state committee is recommending that the state do away with one of the requirements that keeps you safe at the gas pump. The reason behind the recommendation is money.
The next time you're filling up, look up at the canopy that covers the pumps. Those little pipes that come down are part of the station's fire fighting equipment. A state committee is recommending that stations don't need it anymore.
Dick Steamer owns the Hess station in Bushnell's Basin. His station has about two dozen fire fighting pipes over top of the pumps.
Steamer said, “Well I think it is an insurance policy. You don't use it until you need it.”
But a state committee on fire codes says you shouldn't need it anymore. At a meeting at the beginning of the year, the committee voted five to two recommending that the state requirement to have fire suppression equipment at gas stations be removed. The minutes of the meeting show the committee received a letter from Fast Track saying it "had never had a fire at any of their 57 locations, but spend about $5,000 to clean up accidental discharges of systems" every year.
The system is designed to detect heat and then dump gallons of fire fighting powder on top of the fire.
Steamer said, “It'll totally engulf this whole canopy area with a big cloud that will sort of hangs there for a while.”
It's supposed to suppress the fire until firefighters show up.
Chief Greg Gulick, Bushnell's Basin Fire Department, said, “We hate to see any kind of step backwards in safety for the public. Really what is the value of life and safety versus the upkeep of a system?”
Dick Steamer spent $10,000 on his system when he built the Hess station. For him, it is worth it for his peace of mind.
Steamer said, “Like when we built the station here of $7,000 to $10,000, but if there's an accident or tragedy, it could be bad.”
The state says this is only a recommendation right now. The Department of State is in the early stages of debating it, but ultimately the agency makes the decision, not lawmakers.
To contact the State Department, call 518-486-9846.