Citgo Employees Smoke Cigarettes At Gas Station, Are Apparently Fireproof

Maybe these guys know something about the risks of combining fire and gasoline that we don’t, but we’re pretty sure that you’re not supposed to smoke at a gas station. Reader Chris didn’t think so either, and he sent us these pics of employees taking a smoke break at his local Citgo.

Chris writes,

Hi Consumerist,

I thought you might be interested in this story. I haven’t seen a story like this on the site and I am curious about what others think/know about the law surrounding this issue.

I stopped at the local Citgo (used to be Hess) gas station in my town to fill up for a trip north. As I was filling up I could smell some cigarette smoke in the air. I thought it might have just been a few particles drifting around in the air, but instead, to my amazement, I saw not one, not two, but THREE Citgo employees smoking while chit-chatting at the station. I was in shock, I couldn’t believe employees of all people would be the ones smoking at a gas station. Knowing I couldn’t let this go, I pulled out my camera and snapped some photos. I didn’t want to make a scene or confrontation, so I took them from a distance using my optical zoom. I think they even saw me taking photos and just smiled and kept on going as if they were perfectly OKAY with what they were doing. Wow!

In one of the pictures you can see the “NO SMOKING SHUT OFF ENGINE BY ORDER OF STATE FIRE MARSHAL” sign clearly posted. I am pretty sure what they were doing was illegal but I’m really curious what law was broken and if anyone knows how it’s enforced. I looked around in the Florida Statutes and Florida’s Administrative Code (FL Rules) for State Fire Marshall regulations for gas stations. How do I report this, notify the fire marshal, contact Citgo corporate?

We looked it up. Florida has adopted the National Fire Protection Association‘s standards, including National Fire Protection Association Rule 30A, Code for Motor Fuel Dispensing Facilities and Repair Garages, Chapter 9.2.5.1, which states, in part: “Smoking materials, including matches and lighters, shall not be used within 6 m (20 ft) of areas used for fueling, servicing fuel systems of internal combustion engines, or receiving or dispensing of Class I or Class II liquids . . . .”

Here is the contact info page for Florida’s State Fire Marshal. We tried their email link, so we could send them these pictures, but it didn’t work. Perhaps you would have better luck giving them a call. As for contacting Citgo corporate, we’re a little unclear whether Citgo has a different corporate administrative structure than typical gas stations, or if their “independently owned and operated” mantra is because of the whole Hugo Chavez thing. It’s probably worth getting in touch with them, and you should be able to find contact info here. Your fellow customers appreciate your vigilance, and we hope someone addresses this before there’s an accident.



(Photo: donbuciak)