A pickup truck struck a gas pump at Richie’s Sunoco on Lower Valley Pike shortly after 8:30 Wednesday evening, and the pump caught fire.

According to witnesses, a juvenile driver had finished putting air in his tires, started his truck and the gas pedal stuck. The driver said he tried to stop but couldn’t.

A store clerk immediately hit the shutoff button, then grabbed a fire extinguisher to douse the flames.

The pump was knocked off of its base, and Bethel Twp. Firefighters righted the pump before they left.

“We’re looking at $30,000 to $35,000 worth of damage,” said Bryan Richie, owner of the station. He explained that each pump has a plastic containment bucket about four feet deep under each pump. Its purpose is to keep any leaks from getting into the ground. The heat from the fire melted that bucket.

“The whole island will have to be dug up and the containment bucket replaced, and the pump will have to be replaced,” said Richie.

He said that the emergency shutoff switch in the pump, designed to stop the flow of gas in the event of damage to the pump, did its job perfectly.

Richie said the power to all four pumps has been shut off. “One pump feeds all four gas pumps,” he said. “If I turn it back on the damaged pump will start leaking.” He said he has already made a phone call to have the lines to the damaged pump capped off temporarily and expected the work to be done by Thursday afternoon.

Until emergency repairs are made, no gas will be sold at Richie’s Sunoco. The convenience store and drive-thru remain open.

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