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Maryland Man Burned to Death Pumping Gas


Man dies in gas pump blaze
Originally published November 05, 2009 By Gina Gallucci-White and Ron Cassie
Fredick News-Post Staff

Germantown resident Ainsley R. Gordon Jr., 26, died Wednesday after suffering third-degree burns over his entire body from a fire at the FSK Food and Fuel Exxon station in Frederick. Officials have not determined what sparked the early morning blaze.



An early morning trip to fill a gas can turned deadly for a Germantown man Wednesday when a fire started, engulfing him, his Nissan Pathfinder, the gas can, the gas station's pump and canopy in flames.

Ainsley R. Gordon Jr., 26, was pronounced dead at Washington Hospital Center after suffering third-degree burns over his entire body. Gordon was flown by state police helicopter to MedStar's burn unit after the 4 a.m. fire at FSK Food and Fuel Exxon station, 5516 Buckeystown Pike.

"My heart goes out to the family," station owner Elmer Wachter said. "I've lost loved ones, too, but no one that young. It's sad when such a thing happens to a young person with so much life ahead of them."

After the fire started, Gordon ran into the store and back out, said Mike Dmuchowski, spokesman for the Division of Fire and Rescue Services. Dmuchowski did not know if the pump had an automatic shut-off in the event of fire.

The building did not catch fire. Damage to the pump area is estimated at $200,000.

Dmuchowski said the cause of the fire is under investigation.

The station was closed Wednesday morning as several employees with the Berwyn Heights-based Petroleum Site Works company worked on the destroyed pump, and Exxon engineers and officials began looking into the fire.

After speaking to Exxon engineers Wednesday afternoon, Wachter said gas lines at the station had been given a clean bill of health.

"They've been doing testing to bring it back up and telling us that so far, it's been good," he said.

Exxon investigators have not determined the cause of the fire, he said.

"Whether the car caught on fire before the pump, or the pump caught on fire before the car -- they have no idea at this point."

Cleanup and repair is expected to continue for the next week before the station will be pumping gas again, Wachter said.

"We've had a fatality at a drag strip (Mason-Dixon in Boonsboro) that I own and several bad accidents, but nothing like this before," he said. "As a business owner, you always take every precaution you can to make it as safe an environment as you can for your customers."

Anyone who drove by or was at the station or saw anything unusual should call the Maryland Arson Hotline at 1-800-492-7529 or the State Fire Marshal Metro Regional Office at 410-871-3050.

 

 

 

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