I just saw a segment on the local news about a man who was burned by a flareup of the gasoline fumes while filling his tank (Here’s a link to the TV news webpage on the story: http://www.king5.com/business/NW_042502BUBcellphonefire.283ef13b.html ) The fire department said that the blaze was probably sparked by a static charge.
The news people said that the charge was probably applied to the man’s body when he sat in his car to get his cell phone. They mentioned that the plastic seats tend to cause this, and suggested touching the metal of the car to discharge yourself before pumping gas. But they said that’s the reason there are notices telling people not to use cell phones at the pumps.
I don’t get the connection. The way they described it, the same thing would have happened if he’d gotten in the car for a roadmap, a candy bar, or an inflatable sex doll. They didn’t tell me why the cell phone was particularly dangerous. [I’ve got a theory, but the news story didn’t really support it. This is one of the most irritating things about the newsbites you get nowadays. No detail.]
So, why are cell phones prohibited at gas pumps? And was the cell phone actually at fault in this Arizona case?