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Freak fireball shot past terrified garage cashier.

Byline: Josh Layton Staff Reporter

THIS is the dramatic moment a petrol station was hit by a devastating explosion which sent a fireball shooting past a terrified cashier. The image taken from CCTV cameras at the BP garage in Spring Hill, Ladywood shows the freak blast sweeping across the shop.

Four staff were treated for flash burns after the explosion at the BP garage in Spring Hill, Ladywood.

A cashier reels back with his hands in the air as a fireball of up to a metre erupts in the pay kiosk, blowing apart bits of the counter.

Fortunately no-one was seriously injured in the accident, caused by an aerosol canister containing lighter fluid being heated by a fan in a storeroom.

Dave James, station commander at Handsworth, said: "It was an electric fan heater underneath the counter which has been knocked and it's heated up a gas cylinder which is used to fill up lighters.

"It's moved some bits and pieces and the staff have bent down to have a look and another one has gone off resulting in a fireball which has given some people in the shop flash burns.

"The flame was not there for more than half a second. In total four casualties were taken to hospital for some light flash burns."

Mr James said the fireball would have been no longer than a metre.

Firefighters used the garage's CCTV to investigate the cause of the fire, which broke out at about 11am yesterday.

Mr James added: "We have concluded our investigation and are dampening it down and helping them restore their business."

Crews from Handsworth and Ladywood responded along with a fire service response vehicle. Three men and a woman received treatment for minor burns injuries.

One of the men suffered burns to his hands and face and was taken to Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham, West Midlands Ambulance service said.

His two male colleagues suffered "superficial facial burns" and the woman was treated for minor burns to her arm.

The three workers were all treated at City Hospital.

A member of staff, who spoke briefly as he helped tape off the forecourt and pumps, said: "There was an electrical fire inside the shop. It's all OK now."

Ladywood fire station later tweeted pictures showing a member of staff reacting to the mini-explosion and a flash of orange under the counter.

Another picture showed the cylinders above the warning: "The culprit! Please take care with pressurised containers.

"Keep them away from heat sources."


The moment the blast rips |through the petrol station

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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Birmingham Mail (England)
Date:Mar 3, 2015
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