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Can a smartphone cause a petrol pump to catch fire?


One fine afternoon, I went to a petrol pump to refuel my car. I was on a call (hands-free) when I parked my car near the filling station. I got out of the car to check the meter and took my phone with me. As soon as the fuel pump employee saw me talking on the phone, showing concern and urgency, he asked me to disconnect. I agreed and immediately dropped the call. This got me thinking, what will be the harm with the phone at the petrol pump?

When we visit petrol pumps, we often see a sign that tells us not to burn anything, not to smoke and not to call the refueling station. But have you thought how something harmless like an incoming/outgoing call can cause an explosion or fire.

This apparently got me curious enough to go home and find “use of phone at petrol pump caused fire” on YouTube. To no one’s surprise, I couldn’t find anything concrete other than a few videos that purportedly show a fire/explosion caused by the use of a phone.

There are also some questionable “experiments”, showing petrol smoke catching fire near a phone call. Then what is the verdict?

Several studies have shown that there is almost no chance of the phone catching on fire. According to a study by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), a regulatory body in the United States, there is no evidence that the reports of phone fires are true. While it “might be theoretically possible for a spark to ignite gas vapor from a cell phone battery,” the FCC has concluded that the potential danger is remote.

Then what about all those CCTV camera footage that claim that the fire or explosion was caused by the phone?
One of the main culprits that has been found to cause a spark and eventually a fire is static electricity. Static electricity can be generated by motion or friction. While the fuel pumps are grounded, there is petrol smoke closer to the nozzle.

To stay safe, people visiting petrol pumps are often advised to:

  • Shut down the engine.
    -Don’t smoke.
    -Never re-enter your vehicle while refueling.

Post Can a smartphone cause a petrol pump to catch fire? Appeared first on BGR India.


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