Proposal to remove fire system at gas stations

Posted at 10:25 PM, Sep 17, 2015

A state council wants to rid gas stations of mandated fire suppression systems. One lawmaker thinks that's a bad idea, calling the proposal a dangerous, high-risk gamble.

A YouTube video shows a car backing into a gas pump up at a gas station, bursting into flames. But as those flames rage, surveillance cameras recorded how fast the fire was extinguished with a fire suppression system.

"It's automatic. They activate and try to keep the fire to a minimum," Doyle Hose Company Assistant Fire Chief Brian Rogowski said.

But concern is growing amongst the firefighters from Doyle Hose in Cheektowaga as the state Code Council considers a plan to do away with these systems.

"It's just like having a fire suppression system at a school," Rogowski said. "If a fire were to break out, it helps protect life and property until we can get there and finish the job off. You wouldn't put kids and people at risk at a school, so why would you do it at a gas station?"

Now State Senator Tim Kennedy is calling on the Code Council to reverse course. He says our safety would be at risk each time we gas up.

"The fact of the matter is this is a bone-headed decision. It's common sense, it's very simple and it's a decision that needs to be changed," Kennedy said.

Fire suppression systems at gas stations have been a state mandate since the mid-1980s. You wouldn't even notice the nozzles if you weren't looking.

But under the new rule, if passed, gas stations would not be required to install or even maintain existing systems.

The Code Council cites improved technology as its reason for the proposal.

"I don't need to tell anyone how flammable gas is. Every system in the world is not enough to get in front of fire once gas ignites," Kennedy said.

For now, it's just tempers that are flaring as Kennedy calls on the public for support to keep these systems in place.

The state Code Council did not return phone calls seeking more information about this issue.




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