Fire causes some damage at Idle Inn

Published 4:59 pm Friday, October 31, 2008

Disaster was averted at the Idle Inn on Broad Street on Friday afternoon.

One of the station’s pumps caught fire, severely damaging a Ford Expedition and leaving a pump mechanic with minor injuries.

According to Selma Chief of Police William T. Riley, someone was performing maintenance work on one of the tanks. A rogue spark was produced, and caused a flame that mushroomed, engulfing the pump and the Expedition beside it.

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“Someone was working on the tank,” said Riley. “Whatever they were doing, it must have started the fire. It did not come from any individual (pumping gas) so far that we know.”

For Charmion Brown, the owner of the Expedition, it could’ve been a lot worse.

“I just filled my car up and went inside to pay for it,” said Brown. “When I looked out the window, there were flames coming all in the back of the car, on the other side, on the ground. It was covered. Flames were everywhere. Just thank goodness I wasn’t standing there.”

She was visibly shaken following the incident not because the damage the flame did to her vehicle but because she realized she could’ve been killed.

“I don’t know what happened over there. I don’t really know,” said Brown. “The good lord was with me. He was with me. I could’ve been standing there.”

Barbara Shark and her son, Esias, were pumping gas when the flame erupted. They were as puzzled as anyone else.

“I was pumping gas. The man was pumping it,” said Esias Shark. “This lady behind her was mad. She said ‘I put $5 in here for that gas pump. Don’t make me move, I want to get my gas,’ and about five seconds later, we hear something go boom.”

Deandria Holeman also nearly averted disaster. She was pulling into the gas station just as the fire broke.

“I was coming down the road and about to get some gas. As I was turning in, I saw the explosion,” she said.