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By Charl Bosch

Motoring Journalist


WATCH: Petrol attendants save the day after taxi ignites at pumps

Severity of the injuries to the passengers are unknown, but some are likely to have received burns and cuts from the broken glass.


A video posted on social media showing petrol station attendants helping commuters escape from a burning taxi has attracted praise from respondents. No fatalities were recorded.

Petrol attendant heroes

The video was initially posted by user Peche Africa from what appears to be CCTV camera footage.

The exact location is unknown, though based on the registration plates of the vehicles seen at the station, the incident is likely to have taken place in Gauteng.

Watch the heroic act

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In addition, while no date can be seen clearly, ‘2023’ is displayed in the top-hand left corner of the footage, along with the time, 07h51, and the day indicated as Friday.

For the first seven seconds of the video, nothing seems abnormal as a rather dilapidated and tired Toyota HiAce taxi appears ready to depart the Engen station.

Taxi ignites

Moments after the filling attendant receives the payment from the driver, the HiAce moves ever so slightly backwards, before appearing to stall as it creeps forward.

Milliseconds later, a flame jets out from underneath it, followed by a burst inside directly at the driver and his passengers.

Matters then escalate as passengers proceed to jump through the windows in order to get out, as both the sliding rear door and passenger’s doors are unable to open.

Others matter more

The flames seemingly matter little to another petrol attendant, who stops his filling-up of a Mazda2 opposite the scene and tries to pry the mentioned doors open to rescue the passengers.

Despite this, both doors refuse to open, leading to those still inside hurling themselves through the windows.

With glass strewn across the forecourt floor, the sliding door eventually opens and not a moment later as 18 second after the first lick of flame emerged, the HiAce becomes an inferno.

It continues to burn for another 20 seconds or so before being put out by the station’s fire extinguishers.

Fortunately, as the video indicates, all of the passengers inside escaped the burning the Toyota, some likely with cuts as a result of the shattered glass.

What caused the fire?

As the footage omits whether police attended to the scene, it remains unknown as to whether a formal investigation was launched to determine how the fire started.

Based on the rocking motion of the HiAce before it was meant to leave, plus the driver being depicted reaching for the column-mounted gear lever before the first flame emerges, it would appear that a stall followed by a possible backfiring resulted in the inferno, though this is purely speculative.

Either way, the attempts of the fuel attendant are still laudable, as are those of his colleagues in preventing the flames from expanding to any of the other pumps that would result in a much bigger disaster.

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