Firefighting, Hazmat, Health & Safety

Transport of Stolen Fuel: A Growing and Hidden Danger for Firefighters

Issue 11 and Volume 170.

By Bill Gustin Law enforcement agencies report that the theft of gasoline and diesel fuel is a multimillion-dollar business that is rapidly spreading throughout the nation. While thieves are making millions of dollars selling fuel on the black market, they are putting firefighters at great risk by transporting stolen fuel in vehicles that conceal their dangerous and illegal cargo. Sometimes firefighters operate at the greatest risk when they are not aware that they are in danger. This is definitely the case when they respond to what they expect to be a “typical” or “routine” vehicle fire and are totally caught off guard and overwhelmed by a running spill fire involving hundreds of gallons of stolen gasoline. (1) Batteries in a minivan are used to power the pump for stealing gasoline. (Photos 1-6 by Drea Hahn.) (2) The trap door provides access to the fill cover of the gas station’s underground tanks.…

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