Car fire extinguished before spreading to Pride gas station in Hadley

Last modified: Thursday, December 17, 2015

HADLEY — An automobile malfunction threatened to set a gasoline station on fire Wednesday evening, according to Fire Chief Michael Spanknebel.

A female driver pulled into the Pride gas station at 445 Russell St. after noticing something was wrong with the car, Spanknebel said. It was then that flames started to come from the engine with the building and its propane tanks about 15 feet away, he said.

The Fire Department was called at 8:11 p.m.

“We went through four fire extinguishers until we arrived with our truck and then we used 500 gallons of water to extinguish it,” Spanknebel said, adding that the fire melted one of the vehicle’s gas lines and caused a leak. No injuries were reported.

An Amherst Police officer was the first to the scene and used a fire extinguisher he had on hand and one from inside of the Pride station. Spanknebel arrived next and said he used two extinguishers he had in his vehicle. The fire truck arrived soon after to complete the effort, he said.

The fire took about 30 minutes to extinguish and firefighters spent additional time keeping leaking gas out of a nearby catch basin, Spanknebel said. A remediation company will have to clean up the rest of the leak in the morning, he added.

Spanknebel said he did not know what caused the vehicle fire and that it was still under investigation. He said the driver was cooperative and a gas station attendant was helpful, shutting down the station and removing propane tanks from the area.

The gas station, which normally closes at 11 p.m., will reopen for its normal business hours Thursday, Spanknebel said.

Spanknebel said there was nothing malicious about the incident and that no citation would be issued. “She thought something was wrong with the car; there was no way for her to know it was going to burst into flames,” he said of the driver, who was not identified.

Dave Eisenstadter can be reached at


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