A St. Albert man was nearly engulfed by flames while working on his car in the early hours of Wednesday morning.
St. Albert Fire Services responded to a structural fire at a detached garage located at the rear of 20 St. Vital Avenue, along Mural Crescent. The call came in at 12:02 a.m. on Jan. 27.
A male tenant was fixing a vehicle when gasoline fumes caused by a leak in the car’s fuel system ignited and a flash fire consumed the garage where he was working.
“Gasoline vapours are highly flammable and explosive when ignited,” said Les Mroz, fire inspector with St. Albert Fire Services. “(They) stay low to the ground and if there are any potential ignition source they can be ignited within a certain flammable range. The results, as we see here, can be devastating.”
It is uncertain what caused the gasoline fumes to ignite. There were a variety of potential ignition sources present at the site, such as heaters and electrical wires, said Mroz.
Despite the speed at which the garage caught fire, the man was able to escape relatively unharmed. He called 911, before seeking medical attention at the Sturgeon Community Hospital for smoke inhalation.
The fire gutted the garage, but caused only minor damage to a neighbouring property. Mroz believes the building’s heavy construction and stucco siding contained the flames from spreading quickly to other buildings.
Although not the case in this incident, Mroz reminds St. Albert residents not to use gasoline as a cleaning solution or a solvent, given its highly flammable and explosive nature.