Due to the brief lifting of the near state-wide ban on self-service refuelling in Oregon earlier this week, we’ve been looking at other areas where petrol station attendants are required by law. A frequent argument used for such rules is one of safety, which is a far less relevant issue today than it was when many of these bans came into place decades ago.
We get why a petrol station might seem dangerous. You’re asking members of the public to pump many litres of a highly flammable liquid into their vehicles, all while stood above underground storage tanks holding thousands of more gallons of the stuff. This crash in Cere, northern California, however, proves that even when something awful happens, there are systems in place that keep everyone safe.
A few days ago a 23-year-old identified as Isabel Zepeda came thundering off Highway 99 and straight into a petrol pump. The impact was severe enough to knock the whole pump over, causing a brief fireball. And that’s as dramatic as it got - the residual fuel left in the demolished pump burned, but the fire was soon extinguished by the Ceres Fire Department before it spread to any other vehicles or structures.
The reason this wasn’t any worse is thanks to what’s called a ‘shear valve’. It’s designed to quickly break under stress, sealing off the storage tanks and preventing a devastating fountain of fuel from erupting out of the ground.
Zepeda, whose four and five-year-old children were in the back seat, has been charged with driving under the influence and child endangerment. The California Highway Patrol reported that the kids did receive some minor injuries, but are otherwise OK.
Source: CBS Sacramento