Gas station fire sparks 40-foot flames

A Sunday morning car accident at a Daly City gas station injured a driver, closed a freeway offramp and sent flames 40 feet into the air, according to fire and California Highway Patrol officials.

The one-alarm blaze was reported as a car fire at 7:51 a.m at the Sullivan Valero and Food Mart at 1690 Sullivan Ave., according to North County Fire Authority spokeswoman Angelina Ciucci.

Responding firefighters arrived four minutes later and fought the heavy smoke and rocketing flames with hoses and foam. They were able to control the blaze in 12 minutes, Ciucci said. The fire was completely extinguished in two hours.

The CHP shut down both lanes of the southbound Interstate Highway 280 offramp at San Pedro Road for about an hour while firefighters worked. The closure did not cause major traffic problems, the CHP reported.

According to a Daly City police dispatcher, the three-car accident occurred when one vehicle hit another, then struck both a gas pump and a car that was in the process of fueling up. Two of the vehicles were badly burned and one of the drivers was taken to a local hospital with minor injuries, police said.

The gas pump and an overhead canopy were also ignited, but the gas station’s minimart and garage escaped unscathed, Ciucci said,

When the fuel pump was struck, its automatic shut-off was activated, averting a much larger disaster, Ciucci said.

“If the gasoline source had not been cut back, the fire would have been much more difficult to control. Those installed safety devices really help,” Ciucci said.

In total, six fire companies responded to the blaze, including one ambulance, a battalion safety officer, two chief officers and a public information officer, Ciucci said. The fire closed the gas station, she said.

Police are investigating the cause of the crash.

tbarak@examiner.com

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