Archive for Thursday, March 22, 2007

Fire totals car at convenience store

March 22, 2007

Firefighters from the Eudora City Fire Department contained a car fire Tuesday afternoon at the KWIK Shop convenience store at 1436 Church St.

Megan Walker was the owner of the car ---- a 1993 Chrysler LaBaron.

Walker had smelled gas before pulling into the station, Eudora City Fire Chief Randy Ates said. After checking for a leak and finding nothing, she filled her car with fuel.

After starting the car again, she heard a pop and saw flames, Ates said.

The firefighters attributed the fire's cause to a pre-existing gas leak somewhere in the engine compartment that was triggered by the car being started, Ates said.

Quick reaction from bystanders kept the flames contained to the car by the time the firefighters arrived.

"It was like a cycle of miracles," KWIK Shop manager Jody McAfee said.

As soon as workers saw the car was on fire, they shut off the main feed to the gas pumps and sent people out with fire extinguishers.

"Until you're in this situation, you never know if you are able to do that or not," McAfee said.

Store patron Axl Walker, not related to Megan Walker, was one of the first to attempt to control the flames.

"There was a lot of flames and a lot of smoke, we just tried to keep the flames from spreading to the pumps and setting the whole place on fire," he said.

After exhausting the store's two fire extinguishers, Axl Walker used other extinguishers brought to him by the store's staff.

"I just tried to keep it under control until the fire department got here," he said.

Walker estimated he spent about 15 minutes at the vehicle until the fire department arrived. Firefighters were dispatched to the call at 1:19 p.m.

"I'm really glad nobody got hurt," Axl Walker said.

Once at the scene, firefighters were able to knock the flames down quickly, Deputy Chief Mike Underwood said.

Last week, staff at the convenience store installed two fire extinguishers on the island in between the pumps at the request of the fire department, Ates said.

The choice to do so paid off, he said.

It gave the store four extinguishers to fight the fire with instead of two, Ates said.

Although the station avoided major damage, the car didn't.

The front half of the car was completely burnt out, Ates said.

"It appears to be a total loss," Ates said.

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