PHILADELPHIA (CN) – A mother says her son burned to death at a BP gas station when an unsafe fuel nozzle, a defective 2009 Toyota Yaris, gasoline vapors and a spark of static electricity converged to create an inferno.
Lisa Rickenbach says her 19-year-old son Luther Byers was at BP’s Camp Hill, Pa. gas station on March 5, 2010 when “during the refueling process, a static spark caused gasoline vapors to ignite.”
She says her son suffered “catastrophic personal injuries, including significant conscious pain and suffering, and thereafter died.”
Rickenbach says Toyota made the Yaris with “seats that significantly increased the amount of static charge that could accumulate on the vehicle’s occupants” and “did not contain a mechanism to prevent gasoline overflow from the vehicle.”
She says BP failed to protect patrons from “the risk of static electricity discharge at or near gasoline vapors” and to ensure that only safe fuel dispensers were used at its station.
The mother says that a post-fire inspection of the gas station death revealed violations of at least 20 state flammable and combustible liquids regulations.
She seeks damages for wrongful death, negligence, products liability, and premises liability.
Named as defendants are BP Products North America, Toyota Motor Corp. and the alleged manufacturers of the fuel dispenser and its nozzle: the Southwest Pump Co. and Husky Corp.
Rickenbach is represented by Stewart Eisenberg with Eisenberg, Rothweiler, Winkler, Eisenberg & Jeck.