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Old 25th July 2006, 21:15   #1
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Default Explosion in Chennai petrol bunk - How safe are we at bunks?

There was a explosion in the petrol bunk opposite our office today at 7pm. This is the one on Anna Salai near the Apollo Hospital near Nandanam signal. The bunk is very near out office and some of us park our cars there when we dont get enough parking space. No sure of any casualities. We saw the thick flames from our office windows. Fire tenders doused the flames and the entire area was full of thick smoke with a bad odour.

This sets me to think, what would have happened if I was there? What precautions does one take while refueling apart from not using the cell phones. I have heard of many instances like these, but first once in front of my eyes.
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Old 25th July 2006, 22:08   #2
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many people fail to switch off their engines while filling fuel-mainly buses and trucks.is that dangerous?i have once kept my crdi engine running while filling
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Old 25th July 2006, 22:16   #3
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I dont think using a cell phone while refuelling invites any additional danger.
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Old 25th July 2006, 22:25   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Digital Vampire
I dont think using a cell phone while refuelling invites any additional danger.
I read this article. My NOKIA user manual certifies this.
http://urbanlegends.about.com/librar...y/aa062399.htm


Quote:
Originally Posted by carfreak
many people fail to switch off their engines while filling fuel-mainly buses and trucks.is that dangerous?i have once kept my crdi engine running while filling

I heard my Uncle's truck drivers say that they can fill more fuel in the tank if the engine is switched on. How dangerous!!!!!!!! I always switch off my engine at bunks whether car or bike.

Last edited by aah78 : 25th July 2006 at 22:34.
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Old 25th July 2006, 22:32   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Digital Vampire
I dont think using a cell phone while refuelling invites any additional danger.
a cell-phone has a RF transmitter which is capable of releasing a small amount of electricity when activated. due to the highly inflamable nature of petrol, even a small amount of electricity (static), can cause a spark, that could be enough to ignite petrol. when one is filling petrol in the car, it vapourises and the vapours float up - capable of being ignited by the static charge build-up, hence, it is advisable to turn off your cellphone (or not use it) when around a filling station - especially if you're the one doing the filling.

also, when filling a container, it is advisable to put the container on the ground before sticking the filling-nozzle into it. any static-charge build-up dissipates to the ground by doing this. always try and use an approved container to carry extra fuel. these containers are specially designed to be less static prone than a standard metal container / plastic bottle.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mail4ajo
I heard my Uncle's truck drivers say that they can fill more fuel in the tank if the engine is switched on. How dangerous!!!!!!!! I always switch off my engine at bunks whether car or bike.
ofcourse, with the engine running, the fuel is being used up while filling, so it naturally gives an impression of more fuel being filled in the tank. diesel is ignited by compression rather than a spark (which is used for igniting petrol). thus, the chances of diesel being ignited while filling are lesser than petrol but why should one chance this...?

instead of a casual approach (chalta hai attitude!), be very careful around any combustible fuel. always keep Murphy's Law in mind....

Last edited by aah78 : 25th July 2006 at 22:38.
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Old 25th July 2006, 22:58   #6
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Agreed that cellphones produces static.. but you need not really use(call) it to cause static...There is a always a continous heartbeat between the handset and the BTS, but the repeatition of this signalling is less than the continous(almost) voice path transmission during a call.

Also if the mobile is in a low signal area, the Tx of the phone will be in full monty to reach the far BTS increasing chances of more static.

Anyway its better to be safe than sorry...Infact to be really SAFE, you need to switch OFF the phone before entering explosive atmospheres.

BTW a point to ponder. While we travel, our body can get statically charged to even kilo-volt regions due to the the constant rubbing and vibrations escalated even more by insulation due to rubber tyres. I remember seeing iron chains which touches the road surface hanged underneath long distance trucks to provide a discharge path for the static...How far this helps is debatable.

Last edited by Digital Vampire : 25th July 2006 at 23:07.
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Old 25th July 2006, 23:03   #7
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Did they figure out the actual reason for the fire ?

I have a feeling it maybe due to a cigarette.
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Old 25th July 2006, 23:52   #8
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There was an experiment done in the US to determine the cause of Fuel Pump fires.
These guys filled up a room with petrol etc., and put in few cell phones.
Then they rang all the cell phones, nothing happened.
Figuring that it has something to do with answering cell phones, these guys set them to auto answer.
Still nothing happened and the test was repeated multiple times.
So they started researching more on the fires.
The figures which came back that most fires were in neighbourhoods considered unsafe, and mostly women were involved.
After further research they found the answer.
Normall you get out of the car, touch the body of the car, fill in fuel close the lid and sit in and go.
In an unsafe neighbourhood, what women mostly did was this
Get out of the car, put in the nozzle, get in the car again.
Now when they got out of the car, again there would be a static discharge.
This was there during the first time too, but as fuel was not getting filled, there were no fumes around.
Same is the case with cell phones. A dropped cellphone can cause a spark but using your cell phone is risky because plastic when rubbed againt fabric gets statically charged. Infact instead of using a cellphone, even using a switched off cellphone is risky. So dont touch that cell phone.
While getting out of the car discharge yourself against the door. If you are statically charged and you discharge yourself against the metal nozzle, you are in for some free flying time.
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Old 26th July 2006, 00:53   #9
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i was just going to post that..it was done by myth busters..

Note from support team: Do paste the entire quote. You can take lines as what you want to high-light. Please make this as a practise. Thanks.

Last edited by Rudra Sen : 26th July 2006 at 10:23.
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Old 26th July 2006, 01:19   #10
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As far as I know, the RF tx rx power does not have anything to do with sparks. The sparks are caused by the high powered batteries. The cell phone itself, and the pcb inside is all slightly flexible, that can cause a spark at the contacts. The plastic when rubbed against the body can also cause the sparks.
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Old 26th July 2006, 01:47   #11
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@mail4ajo:
Does that petrol bunk also supply LPG???
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Old 26th July 2006, 07:02   #12
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I passed by the spot around 8:00 PM and have seen about 4 Fire tenders parked on the road. I was only guessing that some fire accident could have happened in that area.

On Switching off the engine, I appreciate the Shell Petrol Bunk Staff. They insist on you switching off the engine and other accessories and only then they start fuelling up your vehicle.
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Old 26th July 2006, 08:58   #13
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yeah, came by that pump this morning. i always fill fuel there as its on my way to work. saw it all burnt up and all, was wonderig. ... "damn them anti-soclail elements". you keep reading about petrol pump safety, but i guess you never think it will hit so close to home!
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Old 26th July 2006, 14:31   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mpower
Did they figure out the actual reason for the fire ?

I have a feeling it maybe due to a cigarette.
It turned out that the Fuel Pump overheated and caught fire. This is the info I got from our office drivers who refuel there. Luckily no one was hurt.
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Old 26th July 2006, 14:33   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nitrous
@mail4ajo:
Does that petrol bunk also supply LPG???
I dont think so. Only about 10 -12 bunks have LPG
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