Gas Station Crash Sparks Martinez Fire

Multiple cars were destroyed before fire was put out. Walnut Creeker Lynn Laybourne witnessed it. Photographer Robert Perry captured the aftermath.

Bay City News Service

A driver crashed into a gas pump at a station in Martinez Wednesday evening, igniting a blaze that damaged multiple cars before it was extinguished, witnesses and fire officials said.

The smoky, one-alarm fire was reported at about 5:40 p.m. at the Flex Oil Gas station at the corner of Alhambra Avenue and Virginia Hills Drive.

A young male was driving a car that entered the gas station and struck a pump, according to Walnut Creek resident Lynn Laybourne, who was filling up her vehicle at a nearby pump.

"I had my back turned to it — all I heard was a noise," Laybourne said.

"I realized something was going to happen and was going to pull the nozzle out, but I heard people yelling 'Run!' so I ran," she said.

A car exploded behind her before a gas station employee turned off gas to the other tanks, Laybourne said.

Fire crews put out the flames by 6 p.m., according to the Contra Costa County Fire Protection District.

"I kept thinking my car was going to blow but it didn't," Laybourne said. She said her car suffered damage to its rear end and is remaining at the station overnight.

Three vehicles and two gas pumps burned in the fire, fire officials said. No injuries were reported.

This story originated on Martinez Patch.


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