One of the last pieces of business Dave Sanderson had to do Friday afternoon at Sanderson Service, his north Vernon auto repair shop, was change a fuel pump.
Instead, Sanderson and his office assistant ended up fleeing his shop in the 4600 block of 31st Street – Sanderson with his pants on fire – after a blaze broke out at 4:18 p.m.
Sanderson was in a bay pulling the tank down off a 1996 Ford Contour and was trying to pull a vapour line off the tank.
“It was an older car so the line was quite stubborn,” said Sanderson, whose been at the 31st Street location for seven years. “I didn’t know how much fuel was in the tank. When I popped the line off the gas just came pouring out.”
Sanderson ran for a bucket but he couldn’t catch all of the gas as it just kept flowing out. He said he heard something on the other side of the building as the gas hit the cement and pooled.
Something on the other side of the building ignited the fire.
“There was nothing going in the other bay (where an electrical company’s van, repaired earlier Friday, was waiting to be removed) as the job was finished,” said Sanderson. “But there’s equipment on the other side. It’s hard to say what ignited the fire.”
Sanderson, who had been standing in gas, had his pants catch fire as he was running to alert the office assistant, and both got out of the building.
Sanderson did suffer burns to his legs.
The building also housed a U-Haul rental office, which was heavily damaged by the fire.
Sanderson believed his building was fully insured.