Wexford Fire Service has commended a shop owner for her quick action in averting what could have been a disastrous incident after a car crashed into a petrol pump on Distillery Road at the weekend.
County Fire Chief Paul L'Estrange said the decision of proprietor Sheila Byrne to shut off the petrol pumps from inside before even looking out to see what had happened, averted a potentially more serious event.
The accident happened shortly after 7pm last Saturday evening when a Toyota Prius hybrid car smashed into a petrol pump outside Byrne's shop, knocking it completely off the ground and exposing the pipes. The female driver of the car was luckily unhurt.
'The minute I heard a bang, my instinct was to turn off the pump. I have a switch right beside me. I did that before I even went out to have a look to see what had happened' said Sheila whose emergency action shut off the petrol supply and prevented a major spillage.
Wexford Fire Service was alerted to the accident at 7.15 pm and arrived on the scene at 7.23pm. A fire crew wasted no time in making the area safe by spraying foam over the pump and an area of oil spillage on the ground. A plumber was engaged to cap the exposed pipe openings and a tow truck was called to remove the damaged car.
'The quick action of the person in the shop in turning off the pumps averted what could have been a much larger incident', said the County Fire Officer.
'That person should be commended. She activated the emergency shut-off button which is there to turn off the pumps in the event of a spill'.
Sheila said it was the first incident of its kind at the street-side petrol pumps in front of Byrne's shop which she has run for the past 28 years.
'It was a freak accident and that's that. We could have done without it but that's what happens sometimes.'
The petrol pump outside the shop was still out of action on Monday but the diesel pump was operating as usual.