Iphtashu Fitz writes "Matthew Erhorn was filling his car with gasoline outside of New Paltz, NY when when he flipped open his cell phone to answer a call. The next thing he knew he was engulfed by a ball of fire. Luckily for Erhorn a quick thinking employee hit the emergency fire suppression system and he ended up with only minor burns. Firefighters investigating the accident concluded that the cell phone triggered the fire. Experts at The Petroluum Equipment Institute disagree however, attributing the fire to static electricity. Since 1992 the PEI has documented 158 cases of gas pump fires believed to have been started by static electricity. Apparently cell phone signals are too weak to ignite gasoline vapors, but the human body can generate enough static electiricy (60,000 volts) from simply sliding out of your car seat to do just that. Do you pay attention to all those signs at the gas pump telling you to to make sure your car, cell phone, PDA, pacemaker, etc. are all turned off before you start pumping?"
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