Fireball erupts after truck hits gas pump on Gray Highway

lfabian@macon.comDecember 12, 2012 

The Lucky Food Mart lived up to its name Wednesday after no one was hurt when a pickup truck smashed into a gas pump, sending a fireball and black smoke into the sky.

Just after 7:30 a.m., Josh Fennelle was stopped at a traffic light on Shurling Drive, where light rain had been falling for about 30 minutes.

When he hit the gas to turn left onto Gray Highway, his Dodge Ram pickup hydroplaned. Fennelle lost control across the busy road and crashed into the pump, knocking it off its foundation and into a Macon Water Authority truck parked nearby.

Store clerk Atul Modi said he was working the cash register when he saw the crash.

“Then I look outside, the whole truck was fire,” Modi said.

Witnesses described a fireball initially rising from the gas pumps.

Modi immediately hit the emergency switch that shuts off the gasoline flow, but not before the flames had spread to the MWA vehicle.

Fennelle said he put his truck in reverse, backed away from the fire and called police.

“Where’s the man at pump 7?” Modi called out, fearing he was caught in the blaze.

The Macon Water Authority worker was safe inside the store at the time of the crash, Modi realized.

The intense flames engulfed the front of the MWA truck, which was also damaged in the crash.

Macon-Bibb County firefighters were able to extinguish the fire quickly.

Once the smoke cleared, Modi realized how fortunate it was that the gas station was running on empty and a fuel delivery was overdue.

If the tanker had arrived on schedule, he fears a major explosion would have been disastrous.

“He was supposed to come yesterday, but I’m glad he didn’t,” Modi said. “Otherwise, I die also because I wouldn’t have time to run out of the store.”

As luck would have it, the accident precedes an upgrade of the gas pumps planned for early next year at the little store on the busy corner.

Now Modi hopes the project can begin as soon as possible.

Traffic investigators are looking into the accident and charges may be pending, according to a Macon Police Department news release.

To contact writer Liz Fabian, call 744-4303.

The Telegraph is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service