As residents in the Southeast continue "panic buying" gasoline amid a pipeline hack, a Hummer H2 burst into flames Wednesday morning after the driver filled up several cans of gasoline near Tampa Bay, Florida. WFLA reports that firefighters say they were called to a gas station, where they found a 2004 Hummer H2 lit up in flames.
A spokesperson for the Citrus County Fire Rescue told the station that the driver had just filled up four 5-gallon containers at the Texaco Food Mart near the scene. Firefighters found the containers in the back of the Hummer after working quickly to put out the fire. One person was injured enough for emergency personnel to urge them to seek treatment at a hospital, but they refused. Firefighters did not say what the injury was nor how severe.
The Florida State Fire Marshal was also called to the scene to investigate and will determine the official cause of the fire. The Florida Department of Environmental Protection was also notified and helped coordinate cleanup of the fuel spill.
The incident comes as residents in the Southeast have been "panic buying" gasoline over fuel shortage concerns after the Colonial Pipeline — which supplies 45% of the East Coast's total fuel — was forced to close due to a hack. Officials in Florida have said that Floridians don't have to worry about a potential gas shortage, as the Sunshine State relies mostly on a gas supply from cargo ships, not the pipeline.
In messaging keeping against "panic buying," the US Consumer Product Safety Commission even issued a warning not to pour gasoline into plastic bags. "We know this sounds simple, but when people get desperate they stop thinking clearly," the commission said. "They take risks that can have deadly consequences. If you know someone who is thinking about bringing a container not meant for fuel to get gas, please let them know it's dangerous." The commission then stated that people should never pour gasoline over or near an open flame.
Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg called on people to "be sensible and safe," adding that "hoarding does not make things better" in "areas where people are encountering temporary supply disruptions." He said that "under no circumstances should gasoline ever be put into anything but a vehicle directly or an approved container, and that, of course, remains true no matter what else is going on."