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Loaf 'N Jug Clerk Likely Caused Colorado Explosion

FRISCO, Colo. -- Investigators believe a clerk who was trying to fix a slow gas pump triggered a gas leak that likely led to Wednesday's explosion at a gas station, reported the Associated Press.

It's not known yet what caused the fuel to ignite, injuring seven people and destroying an RV and two other vehicles parked at the Loaf 'N Jug on busy Main Street. The employee was among five people who were admitted to hospitals but his condition wasn't known.

Customer Brian Brassfield said he helped an unidentified station employee who was engulfed in flames. Brassfield, who was running out of the station's convenience store after the explosion, said he pushed the man to the ground, took off his shirt and used it to put out the flames.

"At this point, we believe there were some problems with one of the pumps. He was working right there," said Jeff Berino, assistant chief for the Lake Dillon Fire Rescue Authority. "As a result of that maintenance, that fuel was able to escape from the pump."

Katie Williams, 11, one of the RV's passengers, said she saw gasoline squirt from a gas pump that an employee was tinkering with. Both she and her aunt managed to escape the vehicle when the fire started.

The state doesn't license people to do pump repairs but it is up to the oil companies to do the work or train someone else to do it, said Dick Piper, director of the state's division of oil and public safety. "There are various things we will be looking at," Piper said. "Was the equipment working properly? Was it maintained? We will also be looking at storage tanks."

The station was last inspected about a year ago and no problems were found. Employees had received complaints as early as Tuesday that the pump was slow, said Rachel Flood, a fire authority spokeswoman.
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