Car slams into gas pump after accident, ignites blaze

SEATTLE - A car burst into flames Thursday morning after it was struck by another vehicle and crashed into a fuel pump at a Seattle gas station, officials said.

Police said the car was at the Union 76 gas station at the corner of James Street and Terry Avenue when it was struck by another vehicle, described as a black Monte Carlo, that then sped away from the scene.

The impact of the crash pushed the car into the fuel pumps, shearing them off from their base and sparking flames that quickly engulfed the car and shot up into the superstructure above the gas pumps.

"All of a sudden I hear a thump, and I turn around, and there's a car coming straight at me," said Lindsay Aust, who was filling up at the adjacent pump. "I legit thought this car was going to blow up."

The occupant of the car that was struck by the Monte Carlo escaped the blaze by quickly exiting through the passenger door. He was uninjured.

Several people called 911 to report the fire.

The flames were eight feet high and heavy smoke was pouring from the blaze when Capitol Hill's Engine Company 25 arrived on the scene soon afterward.

"The fire was intense enough to burn a nearby Volkswagen car that was fueling up next to it. So we have two cars - one completely destroyed and the other damaged," said Seattle Fire Department spokesman Kyle Moore.

He said the clerk at the station fortunately had the presence of mind to hit the emergency fuel shutoff switch, which cut the supply of gasoline to the pump. Firefighters quickly doused the flames.

Police are now seeking the black Monte Carlo that started the chain reaction and fled the scene.