Automobile Fire at New Bedford

Automobile Fire at New Bedford

An unusual automobile fire recently took place at New Bedford, Mass. The owner, F. D. Stetson, describes it as follows: I have a 200 gasoline gallon tank in the ground connected by pipe to a pump in the garage. I fill a one gallon can at the pump and carry it to the car. While my chauffeur was filling the can the gasoline burst into flame. This happened three times within a period of about two weeks last December. There is no fire in the garage and the man was not smoking, and there was no way for the sun’s rays to focus in the pump vicinity. The cause of the fire has turned out to be a spark of static electricity. The can hangs from the pump nozzle by means of a bail made of insulated wire. The gasoline, being a non-conductor, becomes charged from friction with pump, and carries its charge to the can where it gradually accumulates as the can fills. Then, if any part of the can approaches contact with the pump, a spark passes across in the midst of a rich gas-air mixture. I have been able, on suitable cold dry davs. to produce this spark at will.

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