Local News

Officials Get Word Out About Kerosene-Gas Mixup In Rocky Mount

Posted January 26, 2005 5:36 a.m. EST

— Fire officials say a Rocky Mount convenience store mistakenly sold a dangerous mixture of kerosene and gasoline.

In an 11-day period, The Trade Mart, located on Sunset Avenue, sold nearly 900 gallons of tainted kerosene unknowingly after a delivery person accidentally mixed it with gasoline. The store owner said the fuel delivery company mistakenly hooked up to the wrong pump.

Fire officials say the mixture was sold between Jan. 11 and Jan. 22. There were a number of house fires in Rocky Mount in the past week, and fire officials are investigating to see if those fires may be related to the kerosene/gas mixture.

When flames from a kerosene heater went through Mary William's home last week, she became suspicious that the kerosene may have been contaminated with gasoline.

"Before, I had got some on my hand and I said, 'This doesn't smell all the way like kerosene,'" she said.

On Tuesday, the fire department got results of a test done by the Department of Agriculture showing traces of gas in William's heater. In two of the other recent fires, the homeowners say they got their kerosene from the Trade Mart.

The store is working with the fire department to let people know this is a potentially lethal combination -- a combination that can cause fires when used in space heaters. The pumps were emptied and cleaned out.

Fire officials have ordered a recall. So far, about 70 gallons of the tainted mixture have been returned, but they are concerned that some people still have not gotten the word and may be using the dangerous fuel to heat their homes. They are urging anyone who bought kerosene in that time frame from the store to bring it back. They will be reimbursed.