A man who was trying to steal gas from a parked up box truck accidentally set himself ablaze in the process as fuel prices continue to soar.
The shocking incident was all caught on surveillance camera footage as the man could be seen attempting to siphon fuel from the tank of a vehicle next to which he had parked his own white pickup in Salt Lake City.
Authorities believe the man was using a drill in order to access the gas tank during which a spark ignited the flammable liquid.
Static electricity, or sparks caused by the friction from the drill bit against the gas tank are most likely to blame for the spontaneous combustion of the gas.
The truck was parked outside Summit Fire and Protection and had already had its catalytic converter stolen when this second thief came to steal the gas in broad daylight.
‘Some people try to take the easy way out of everything,’ said Branch Manager Travis Mills, who believes current $5-a-gallon gas prices were behind the theft.
‘The guy tried to siphon gas out of it and he wasn’t getting the siphon to work, so he decided to drill the gas tank, and that’s when he caught on fire,’ Mills said.
A man was caught on camera attempting to steal gas from a box truck when he suddenly set himself on fire
It’s believed a spark of static electricity may have set off the blaze
He was seen rolling across concrete of a parking lot in order to put out flames
The man could be seen rolling on the ground in an attempt to put out the flames on his clothes.
There didn’t appear to be any time for him to even take off his shirt, such was the panic of the situation.
After rolling across the concrete, the man finally sat up and managed to take off his burnt shirt.
His accomplice had sat in the parked pickup the entire time.
‘The reason why he’s fleeing is that, if there were more gas in it than a gallon, this thing would have absolutely turned into a bomb,’ Mills explained to KSL.
‘It’s sad because times are tough for a lot of people, but it’s not worth the $5 that he would have saved for the the injury that the guy sustained.’
‘Unfortunately, given the gas prices in the valley and nationwide, we are seeing an increase in gas theft,’ said Division Chief Tony Allred, Salt Lake City Fire Marshal.
‘Drilling into a tank is extraordinarily dangerous for the person stealing the gas for a very low return,’ Allred went on.
The level of desperation the man sank in order to access what would’ve been ultimately a small amount of gas shows just how much pressure Americans are feeling as a result of the rapid rise in the cost of gas over the last few months.
As of Thursday morning the average price sits at $5.01, after hitting a new high of $5.02 on Tuesday
Gas prices have continued to rise sharply in recent months from a low of $1.77 in April 2020
Last weekend the average cost of gas across the entire country rose above the $5.00 mark, according to AAA.
As of Thursday morning the average price sits at $5.01, after hitting a new high of $5.02 on Tuesday.
Gas is most expensive in California, where some areas are nearing $7.00 per gallon, while they remain the lowest in Georgia at $4.49 for a regular gallon of gas.
On Wednesday, President Biden demanded that oil refiners explain the ‘disconnect’ between the price they pay for oil and the price they are charging Americans at the pump.
‘Since the beginning of this year, gasoline prices have increased by more than $1.70 per gallon,’ the president lamented.
‘Vladimir Putin’s war of aggression, and the bipartisan and global effort to counter it, has disrupted the global supply of oil and driven up the global price,’ he continued. ‘But the sharp rise in gasoline prices is not driven only by rising oil prices, but by an unprecedented disconnect between the price of oil and the price of gas.’
President Joe Biden sent a letter to seven of the biggest oil companies demanding action to quell surging gas prices – including an emergency meeting and explanation for whether there has been a loss in oil refining capacity by these companies
Biden laid out in his letter: ‘The last time the price of crude oil was about $120 per barrel, in March, the price of gas at the pump was $4.25 per gallon. Today, gas prices are 75 cents higher, and diesel prices are 90 cents higher.’
The administration has blamed oil price surges on Russia’s continued invasion of Ukraine, which started in late February, and on greedy Big Oil companies.
The letter Wednesday urges heads of the seven oil companies to participate in an ’emergency meeting’ with Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm through the National Petroleum Council to further discuss options to lower costs. He also accused them of not increasing production in order to keep prices higher.
Biden’s letter demands information on whether there has been a loss in oil refining capacity by these companies, which would explain a portion of the price increases.
In the speech, Biden also blamed Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion on Ukraine for the gas price surge, which the administration has dubbed ‘Putin’s price hike.’
Biden has taken specific aim at ExxonMobil, saying: ‘Exxon made more money than God last year.’ Pictured: An Exxon gas station sign in Oakland, California earlier this week shows the price per regular gallon of gas at $6.95
A handful of states, like New York, Maryland and Georgia, have already implemented a suspension on gas tax – and the administration has started more seriously looking at a federal gas tax holiday.
Such a move would require congressional action, but a direct call from the president on giving tax breaks to Americans struggling to afford a tank of gas would almost assuredly spark movement.
Some suggest that Biden merely calling on the other states to impose their own gas tax holidays would be an effective move from the White House to help ease pressure on Americans’ pocketbooks.
Biden has already tapped the Strategic Petroleum Reserves, which had a negligible effect on gas prices.
Surging gas prices are contributing to a four decade high inflation as economic issues take center stage in the 2022 midterms and Democrats’ political outlook for November is looking increasingly grim.
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