It seems like every other day, you hear about something crazy going down in Russia (not including the ongoing war in Ukraine). Is it that the country is just kind of crazy in general? Maybe it’s the geographical size – being the largest country in the world, there’s more land for crazy things to happen than any other country in the world.
Whatever the reason is, I’m glad that everyone in Russia seems to have a camera running at all times. How else would something like this have been captured?
What appears to be a fuel spill at the start of the video turns into a huge fiery explosion in a matter of seconds.
Some people (and I was in the same boat) questioned why someone had their camera pointed at the gas station at the exact second it went up in flames. Was it a planned attack? Is the person holding the camera a psychic?
So I went on a search for further knowledge, and thanks to the wonder of the internet that is reddit, I found it.
I found a better quality (hooray for HD!) video as the top comment. Not only can you see better what’s going on, it’s also 6 minutes long, showing considerably more of the lead-up and aftermath. From that you can gather a little better what’s going on. The explosion is at 1:15.
From the start of the video, you can see what appears to be vapours flowing on the ground near one of the pumps, as well as behind the building. One suggestion is that there was a truck filling the tanks, and it overfilled them to the point where they started overflowing. Just before the explosion hits, you can see two cars sitting in front of the gas station on the road. These cars are the initial source of spark for the explosion. You can see/hear two smaller explosions (the cars) before the giant fireball consumes everything. Then, there is another big explosion after the giant fireball. Comments suggest that this was likely a methane explosion (methane is apparently more common in Russia than propane).
Reddit posterthatguyinconverse posted a translation of what’s said in the video which sheds a little light on it:
Some notable things they say in this video:
- The woman said “I hope you are filming without sound”, to which the man replied “I will cut it out later”.
- It seems that the first thing they noticed was the smell. In the beginning the man said “I can’t smell it anymore”, to which the woman replied “You’re just used to it”.
- Seconds before the explosion, the woman is speculating about a possibility of one. She said “A singe spark and the whole thing will explode. Maybe a trolley bus will pass and spark up” and the man was calming her down by saying that there is no one around and everything will be fine.
- Moments before the explosion, the woman said “Oh, a car just stopped there. Maybe Oh God the car caught fire”
- After the explosion the woman is worried about the man whose clothes caught fire, the man said that he was ok, that there he was, ran away naked. They talk about him more later, noting that even his underpants burned off.
- The woman told the man to quickly upload to youtube, because there are a lot of people filming and he should be the first one to upload.
- A couple of phone calls are made to relatives to make sure everyone is alright.
- They said that the worker of the gas station (the guy in the red t-shirt) ran up the road and stopped the traffic before the explosion happened.
The mechanism of the explosion itself was explained by one Jalopnik commenter, Grand Moff Talkin’:
Not propane, gasoline. And not sabotage, its called a Boiling Liquid Expanding Vapor Explosion, or BLEVE. The gasoline in a tank heats up in a fire, the vapors pressurize the gas tank. Once the tank breeches, the hot gas expands, causing a massive fireball. This process happens in seconds.
Gasoline vaporizes at a low temp. That’s why you see vapors coming from a puddle of spilled gas. A gas leak on a hot day, a spark or hot surface can be an ignition source. The fumes catch fire, the fire travels inside the tank, the pressure causes an explosion, the burning liquid gas and vapors travel out far (the fireball). If the conditions are right, this chain reaction happens instantly .
Regardless of HOW it happened, it certainly meant a bad day for anyone in the vicinity, and I certainly hope that nobody died or was seriously injured… But it’s hard to imagine something like that happening without at least a few burns.
And you know, this video really is a worst-case scenario, but you should never forget how dangerous fueling your car can be.
Even if you don’t do anything out of the ordinary, it can still spell disaster.
For example, if you don’t ground yourself before fueling (or get in to your car during and don’t ground yourself after), you can cause a static electricity discharge on the fuel nozzle that will ignite the gas going into your car. Watch what this girl does:
You can avoid her fate by making sure you touch something metal to ground yourself before fueling. Just setting the pump up achieves this. Afterwards, don’t get in your car until you’re done fueling.
This guy made the same mistake, but made an even worse one as well: He left his car running. It should be common sense to people that you should always have the engine off, because even the slightest spark can ignite the gas fumes ALL AROUND YOU.
And the ULTIMATE in stupidity: playing with a lighter DIRECTLY IN FRONT OF a gas pump which is actively fueling your vehicle. This guy in Australia did it.
This guy did it too, but it wasn’t himself that he set on fire…
I especially love how the instant reaction with most people in this situation is to pull the fuel nozzle out of the tank while it’s on fire. I think I get the theory behind it, these people obviously don’t want their vehicles to blow up… But when you pull a gas pump nozzle that’s already on fire out of a vehicle while it’s still pumping, you’ve just created an instant flamethrower that covers everything with napalm! The best bet is to hit the emergency pump stop button that is on every pump.
You know, with all the inherent dangers at gas stations, I feel like the producers of 1000 Ways To Die could do a spinoff called 1000 Ways To Die At A Gas Pump. Then again, there really is only a handful of ways to die, and more often than not you don’t actually die but just suffer burns… unless it’s a big explosion.
At any rate, let this serve as a reminder to be careful when you’re filling up!