Men accused of starting gas pump fire after using stolen credit cards to take more than $400 worth of gas
WAUKESHA, Wis. (CBS 58) -- Police say two men from Chicago started a gas pump fire in Waukesha this weekend, then left their vehicle there without telling anyone.
Emergency crews were dispatched to a Kwik Trip Saturday afternoon on Nov. 9 to respond to the fire.
“There were a lot of people at the pumps at the time, so it was fortunate it flashed, went out and didn’t get beyond that vehicle,” said Waukesha Battalion Chief Mark Sweet.
Police say Nakia Barnes and Devoncia Syas had pumped $423 worth of gas into large oil drums stored in their van.
That’s enough gas to fill up the tanks of about 15 cars.
Fire officials believe static electricity built up on carpet lining the inside of the van, and that sparked the gasoline vapors to explode.
Officers say Barnes and Syas left the scene without calling 911 or telling anyone at Kwik Trip.
They were apprehended at a nearby Dairy Queen.
Police discovered the card the men used to pay for the gas had a stolen magnetic strip that belonged to a bank in Florida.
The bank was unaware of the purchase.
The alleged fraud led to the two men each being charged with a felony.
For leaving the scene of the fire, they each were charged with a misdemeanor.
Battalion Chief Sweet says when it’s cold, static electricity builds up more easily at the pump.
It’s safer not to get back in the car while filling up.
He also urges drivers to keep the car off when pumping, and never to smoke.