Driver escapes fireball at Galilee gas station
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Driver escapes fireball at Galilee gas station

Static spark ignites fuel pump and sets woman's hair on fire; victim escapes with light injuries

Stuart Winer is a breaking news editor at The Times of Israel.

Video has emerged showing a woman escaping serious injury after a static spark from her hand set fire to a gas pump as she was filling her car at a gas station in northern Israel.

The incident, which happened over the weekend at a gas station at the entrance to Kibbutz Ginosar on the shores of the Sea of Galilee, was caught by security cameras.

Footage shows a car with a gas pump handle balanced in the opening to the fuel tank as it is being refueled. The driver’s door opens and a woman emerges. As the driver reaches for the gas pump handle, flames erupt around it setting fire to the woman’s clothes and hair. After patting out the flames in her hair the woman reaches for the gas pump handle, but it falls to the ground spreading more fuel and increasing the flames.

The woman escaped with light injuries.

Five fire crews were scrambled to the gas station to put out the flames, Channel 2 reported. There were no other injuries but some damage was caused to the car and property at the station.

Firefighters assessed that static electricity had built up on the woman as she came out of the car, and was then able to leap from her hand to the gas pump handle due to dry air.

“The phenomenon of static electricity these days is caused by the extremely dry air resulting from the weather,” the fire service said in a statement. “In order to prevent these incidents, one can simply use hand cream to prevent the friction that causes a build up of static electricity.”

For nearly a week, hundreds of bush fires wreaked havoc in various locations around the country and strong winds fanned flames through dried-out wooded areas following an unseasonable dry spell. Some 60,000 residents of Haifa were forced to abandon their homes on Thursday as flames swept in and around the northern city, destroying hundreds of apartments.

While some of the fires were the result of negligence or natural causes, police said many of the incidents were deliberate arson attacks and that arrests had been made.

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