Sabotage at Dawson gas station? - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Sabotage at Dawson gas station?

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April 24, 2007

Dawson - A gas station in Dawson may have been sabotaged and water put into gas pumps. Just minutes after the station opened Tuesday, motorists discovered what they were pumping into their tanks was extremely watered-down gasoline. About a dozen drivers were stranded as a result.

Just one week after this Petro station opened on South Main Street in Dawson, it's shut back down. "They found out there was about 14 or 15 inches of water in the tank," said Owner Raj Darira.

That water got into the gas tanks of at least a dozen vehicles, including Angela Allen's. She said, "There was about four of us up there with cars not working because of gas." And that number grew.

Fortunately the pumps were only on for about 15 minutes when the problem was identified. "Thank God we opened late," said Darira, "otherwise we would have had about 100 people."

This is what the owner thinks happened. He says when got to work this morning, the lock wasn't secured on the tank. He believes someone used this nearby water hose to fill it overnight.

Jerry Thomas is working on about eight of the affected cars. He says he's never seen anything like this. "I don't know how it got in there," said Thomas. "I'll say it like that. But normally you wouldn't see that much water in the tank."

But with prices so low, police have been called in to investigate a possible case of sabotage. "Competition is all I know. I have no idea," said Allen.

"No problems last night. Because I was here, I personally closed the store.  It could not have been an accident," said Darira. But he will make sure an incident like this never happens again, accident or not.

Petro provided rental cars for all of the drivers who had problems with their vehicles and is also paying for all vehicle repairs needed, and, of course, will give the drivers free gas once. The pumps were turned back on, problem free, around 3:30 this afternoon.