Fire safety warning about petrol leak causes garden shed explosion

Fire chiefs have warned the public about the use and storage of petrol as they released dramatic footage of a garden shed explosion.

The explosion, which was caught on CCTV, destroyed the large shed after a small amount of petrol, stored in appropriate containers and garden machinery, leaked.

Firefighters believe the petrol vapours were ignited by a faulty fluorescent light fitting, causing the explosion, and the remaining fuel was ignited causing a fire which quickly engulfed the remains of the shed.

Due to the extent of the fire damage, the fire investigations team was unable to establish how the leak occurred.

Jamie Lister, a fire investigation officer, said it could have been a “devastating incident” and urged the public to consider the safety considerations around storage and use of petrol in homes and gardens.

He said: “Petrol produces a vapour which is extremely flammable and must be treated with utmost care. To create a potentially explosive atmosphere there only needs to be a small amount of petrol vapour present.”

The incident happened in West Yorkshire and the fire service there has issued a list of dos and don’ts to avoid other people suffering similar accidents while storing and using petrol.


Do use only approved, labelled containers with correctly fitting lids

Do store in a well ventilated area

Do only store the minimum amount you need (2 x 5 litre plastic containers is the maximum allowed limit)

Do use a funnel/spout when decanting/refuelling and only do this outside

Do keep containers secure to protect against inappropriate use

Do replace any damaged or leaking containers/equipment


Don’t store petrol/petrol operated equipment in living accommodation

Don’t smoke or use naked flames when handling petrol/petrol operated equipment

Don’t overfill containers to avoid any spillages

Don’t fill containers to the brim, fuels expand and vapour can build up in hot weather

Don’t store containers in direct sunlight

Don’t use petrol to light bonfires as this can potentially cause a petrol vapour explosion.

People are also being reminded to keep petrol powered equipment stored in an upright position, and to keep the fuel tap in the off position to prevent leaks.

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