Workers at Chinese petrol station praised for preventing disaster

At great personal risk, staff acted quickly to prevent explosion at flames erupted around fuel tanks

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 28 May, 2017, 5:14pm
UPDATED : Sunday, 28 May, 2017, 5:14pm

Five workers at a petrol station in southwest China have been hailed for their quick action to prevent a disaster after a motorcyclist started a fire.

On the morning of May 4, a deranged man set fire to his motorcycle with his cigarette lighter after refuelling at the petrol station belonging to China’s biggest oil refiner, Sinopec, in Yibin, Sichuan province, according to a report on state broadcaster CCTV, which aired surveillance footage of the incident recently.

When a worker standing nearby attempted to put the fire out with an extinguisher, the rider pushed the motorcycle sideways and the fire instantly erupted as the flames reached fuel leaking from the vehicle, the report said.

The motorcyclist, identified only by his surname Yan, 42, then jumped into the blaze but he was soon dragged out by the station’s manager, Qiu Chunhu, according to the report.

Meanwhile, other workers at the station attempted to bring the fire under control with extinguishers, called police and set up a security cordon. At great personal risk, Qiu then dragged the burning motorcycle out of the fire and away from the petrol pumps before the whole lot exploded. He suffered burns to his left hand and forehead.

The fire was put out within four minutes and Yan was detained by the police immediately after the incident.

Last week, Sinopec gave a shared cash reward of 65,000 yuan (US$9,500) to the five workers.