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No Charges For Driver Who Crashed Into Martinez Gas Station, Sparking Fire

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Video shows a car ramming a gas pump and sparking a fire at the Flex Oil Gas in Martinez on September 19, 2012. (YouTube)

Video shows a car ramming a gas pump and sparking a fire at the Flex Oil Gas in Martinez on September 19, 2012. (YouTube)

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MARTINEZ (CBS SF) — A driver who crashed into a pump at a gas station in Martinez and ignited a dramatic blaze Wednesday night will not be cited or charged, a police lieutenant said Thursday.

Around 5:40 p.m. Wednesday, a 32-year-old Pleasant Hill man drove into the Flex Oil Gas station at the corner of Alhambra Avenue and Virginia Hills Drive, according to police.

While backing up toward a gas pump, the driver accidentally hit the gas petal instead of the brake and struck the pump, Martinez police Lt. Jon Sylvia said.

The crash sparked a blaze that totaled two cars and damaged a third.

Lynn Laybourne, a Walnut Creek woman who was filling up her tank at the gas station when the fire broke out, said a car exploded behind her before a gas station worker turned off gas to the other tanks.

“I realized something was going to happen and was going to pull the nozzle out, but I heard people yelling ‘Run!’ so I ran,” she said.

No one was injured in the fire, and all of the drivers involved were insured, police said. The driver who caused the fire, whose name has not been released, is not suspected of being under the influence of drugs or alcohol, Sylvia said.

“It was a complete accident,” he said.

Fire crews were able to extinguish the one-alarm blaze in about 20 minutes, according to the Contra Costa County Fire Protection District.

(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco and Bay City News Service. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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