Woman's hair catches fire at gas pump - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Woman's hair catches fire at gas pump

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December 4, 2003

Albany - Kids sometimes do it for fun, they drag their feet on the ground and shock each other with static electricity. However, static electricity can be dangerous, especially at the gas station.

Hair stylist Traci Marshall tells her customer, "That scared me to death." Hair salons are spreading the word. Customer Susan Henson says, "You just better be careful."

The stylist is telling her story to everyone who gets in her chair. She explains, "I seen something in the corner of my eye and my hair was on fire."

On Sunday, Marshall was simply pumping gas at this Enmark in Albany. Apparently static electricity in her hair mixed with gas fumes, sparking an explosion. She adds, "I started beating my hair to get out the fire and saw flames coming out of the gas tank."

She was luckily looking at the gas pump instead of the nozzle where the flames started. Camilla Firefighter Lt. Bill Marshall says, "Had she been looking straight down on it [the nozzle] the flames would have gone up in her face."

The safest way to pump gas is to touch the metal of your car first. Once you get the gas nozzle, keep your hand on the nozzle from start to finish. The firefighter advises, "Once you get out of your vehicle don't get back into the vehicle until you are through. After pumping gas, then get back in and get your wallet."

This is a personal safety plea for Lt. Marshall. Traci is his wife. He adds, "If it wasn't for the gentleman who knew how to use a fire extinguisher, it could have been a whole lot worst."

Mrs. Marshall had to cut her hair and fix her truck, but she has a survival story to tell all her customers. She says, "A lot of them didn't know about it." Who knows, maybe her story will save another.

Mrs. Marshall says she did touch the metal on her truck before the fire started, but she thinks her hair rubbing her clothes started the explosion.

We want to also remind you, when you're pumping gas, turn off your cell phones and pagers because those items can also spark an explosion.

posted at 5:25PM by kathryn.simmons@walb.com