Exploring the Factors Behind a Viral Gas Station Fire Video: Cellphones, Modified Fuel Tanks, and Safety Standards

Missing Context Technology

Subscribe to our WhatsApp Channel

Safety is a pivotal consideration in vehicle operation, a fact often underscored by the proliferation of viral videos on social media. However, a concerning trend emerges as many of these videos disseminate misleading assertions, failing to provide the necessary context for the incidents depicted. While the intention may be to highlight safety concerns, the absence of accurate context compromises the effectiveness of such content, potentially leading to misconceptions among viewers.

Social Media Posts

A video circulating on social media shows a car catching fire at a gas station because the driver was playing with his cell phone and opening the door when filling up with fuel.

FB| Archived 

It’s also viral on WhatsApp.

Fact Check 

Video Description: The video in question depicts a car catching fire while being refueled at a gas station. It shows the driver abruptly exiting the vehicle, followed by smoke.

Circulated Narrative: The narrative accompanying the video alleges that the fire occurred because the driver was using a cell phone inside the car and opened the door or window while refueling. It suggests that fuel vapor entered the cabin, leading to the fire.

The same video was found in Kumparan.com news, which said the incident occurred at a gas station in Palu City, Central Sulawesi (Central Sulawesi), Indonesia, on Friday, 11 September 2020. The news article can be found here.

What Kumparam.com News Says: According to Didi Ahadi from PT Toyota Astra Motor (TAM), the incident was possibly caused by the driver using a cellphone and the presence of a modified additional fuel tank in the car. Ahadi mentioned that similar incidents had occurred before due to such modifications, which are not compliant with safety standards. 

Gas Station Employee Testimony: An official from the gas station where the incident occurred stated that before the fire, the car door was closed during refueling, contradicting the circulated narrative. Additionally, the driver had activated the cell phone.

Cellphone Ignition Risk: It is a proven fact that mobile phones do not typically spark fires in gas stations. However, their use is prohibited due to the potential distraction and reduced vigilance they may cause, which can lead to unsafe situations.

Possible Reasons for Fire: While cellphone use and modifications to the car’s fuel tank were identified as factors, other potential causes of the fire could include:

Modified Additional Fuel Tank: The presence of a non-standard additional fuel tank, possibly made of iron, as described by Didi Ahadi, could have contributed to the fire. Such modifications may not comply with safety standards, making the vehicle more vulnerable to danger.

Electrical Modifications: Ahadi also mentioned that some cases involved modifications to the car’s electricity, increasing the risk of danger. Electrical modifications may interfere with the vehicle’s systems and potentially cause malfunctions , leading to fires.

Fuel Vapor Ignition: While the exact mechanism of ignition is not confirmed, it’s plausible that fuel vapor inside the cabin, whether due to modifications or other factors, could have ignited, leading to the fire.

What Not to Do at Fuel Stations: A Guide to Safe Refueling

Fuel stations are places where safety should be the top priority. Here are some important guidelines to follow when refuelling your vehicle:

  1. Turn Off Your Vehicle Engine: Always turn off your vehicle engine while refueling. This reduces the risk of any spark that could ignite fuel vapors.
  2. Stay Near Your Vehicle: It’s important to stay near your vehicle during refueling. This allows you to react quickly if there’s a problem.
  3. No Smoking or Open Flames: Never smoke, light matches, or use lighters while refueling. These can easily ignite fuel vapors.
  4. Avoid Re-Entering Your Vehicle: Do not get back into the car during refueling. The friction of the synthetic materials in the car seat and your clothing might create static electricity, especially during dry, cold winter months. If you must re-enter your vehicle, discharge static electricity when you get out by touching something metal (your car door, a different gas pump, etc.) before reaching for the gas nozzle.
  5. Avoid Overfilling: Do not overfill or top off your tank to avoid gasoline spills. The fuel dispenser will shut off automatically when the tank is full.


Follow us and stay up to date with our latest fact checks.

Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Google News | TikTok 


The claim that the video depicts a car catching fire solely because the driver was using a cell phone and opened the door during refueling is partially true. While cellphone use and modifications to the car’s fuel tank were factors, the presence of a closed door during refueling suggests a more complex situation. Possible causes include non-standard modifications to the vehicle and the ignition of fuel vapor. This incident underscores the importance of adhering to safety standards and procedures while refueling at gas stations, including avoiding distractions and ensuring vehicle compliance with regulations.


Title:Exploring the Factors Behind a Viral Gas Station Fire Video: Cellphones, Modified Fuel Tanks, and Safety Standards

Fact Check By: Fact Crescendo Team 

Result: Missing Context

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *