Assemblyman Anthony Brindisi (D-Utica) is urging New York state to keep the requirement that all gas stations have fire suppressant systems above their gas pumps. The New York State Code Council has proposed abolishing that regulation, but Brinidisi says that could put drivers at risk.
"These fire suppression systems act like having a firefighter already at the gas station. So if an incident does occur, the suppression system kicks in right away, and minimizes the risk of injury or even worse, potential death," he said.
Brindisi says he is working with the Firefighters Association of New York State to stop the move to get rid of the regulation. According to the assemblyman, the cost of a fire suppression system is about $5,000 on average and has a life expectancy of between 20 and 25 years. He says its a small price to pay compared to the thousands of gallons of gasoline pumped each day.
"We've seen cases from other states that don't mandate these fire suppression systems. There was an incident in Tennessee where a driver had a seizure, lost control of his vehicle, struck a gas pump, the gas pump caught on fire, and the person standing next to it also caught on fire," said Brindisi.
In the wake of Superstorm Sandy, Gov. Andrew Cuomo mandated gas stations have back-up power in case of an outage. Brindisi says that creates an increased chance of a fire developing.