Gas Works investigation continues
Published: September 24, 2013
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ST. THOMAS - Fire officials said Monday that they are completing interviews with people who were in the area when the Gas Works gas station in Bovoni erupted in fire Sept. 14.
Daryl George, assistant director of the V.I. Fire Service, said investigators could neither confirm nor deny speculation that human error started the series of explosions that started shortly before 8:34 p.m.
As of Monday, the Fire Service had not concluded the investigation and could issue no statements about the cause and origin of the fire, which completely engulfed and destroyed the independently owned gas station.
George said that many people have come forward with information about the fire since the investigation opened, but that not all of the information was credible and not all of it came from people who were actually in the area when the fire started.
"We have heard a lot of stories," George said. "We have to follow protocol, and we have to have in-depth discussions with individuals who saw it and who are credible. We can't go by anything but factual information. People are calling us with what they heard or what they saw on Facebook. We can't go by any of that."
George said the two people who suffered injuries from the initial explosion - one a female employee who suffered burns and another, a man who suffered scrapes and bruises in helping to get the first victim away from the fire - had both recovered.
Firefighters responded to a 911 call after the initial explosion of a main storage tank. They spent about four hours combatting and containing the fire with the assistance of the V.I. Police Department, the V.I. Territorial Emergency Management Agency, the airplane crash unit of the V.I. Port Authority, St. Thomas Rescue, EMS and the V.I. Public Works Department.
No other storage tank exploded, although at least three explosions happened within the store after firefighters arrived. Fire Service was able to contain the fire to prevent it spreading to another facility next door where other tanks were located and to prevent it from reaching the Bovoni landfill, about 50 feet away, according to George.
George said Monday that, based on preliminary information, no customers were at the station when the fire started.
V.I. Police spokeswoman Melody Rames said Monday the department could not issue any statements on the matter until Fire Service has completed its investigation.
- Contact Amanda Norris at 714-9104 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.