Vehicle fire extinguished at Madison Heights gas station

By: Andy Kozlowski | Madison - Park News | Published June 7, 2019

MADISON HEIGHTS — An SUV that went up in flames at a gas station in Madison Heights could have led to catastrophe, had it not been for the quick thinking of the gas station’s clerk.

The incident occurred at around 12:30 p.m. May 29 at the Speedway gas station at 32845 E. 14 Mile Road, on the corner of Dequindre Road.

First responders arrived within minutes to find a fully involved car fire at the pump. The fire was extinguished within one minute using a combination of water and foam.

It appears everything started about 40 minutes prior when the SUV pulled up to the pump, carrying two adult women and three small children.

One woman reportedly entered the convenience store and asked the clerk if she needed oil because smoke was rising from beneath the hood of her vehicle. No purchases were made, and the woman returned to her vehicle.

The group allegedly remained near the vehicle for more than 30 minutes, until heavier smoke began to rise from the front of the SUV. The group backed away and walked toward the store, at which point the flames quickly flared up.  

“The clerk recognized the emergency and engaged the fuel shut-off button behind the counter,” said Paul Biliti, the fire marshal for the Madison Heights Fire Department. “Her quick actions prevented the situation from becoming much more severe. She is the hero of this.”

It appears a second vehicle then arrived within two minutes of the fire, he said, picking up all five of the SUV’s passengers before fleeing the scene eastbound on 14 Mile Road while the SUV continued to burn.

“This is still under investigation,” Biliti said at press time.

The fire marshal said it’s important to always take proper precautions at the pump.

“Turn off your vehicle when getting gas, stay outside your car to avoid static electricity charges, and don’t smoke near the pumps,” Biliti said. “The most important thing is to pay attention, because you are using gallons of a flammable liquid whose vapors are ignitable with the smallest spark.”