Fire service issues warning on petrol storage

PUBLISHED: 11:47 29 March 2012

Queues were forming at the Shell garage in Redbourn yesterday (Wednesday)

Queues were forming at the Shell garage in Redbourn yesterday (Wednesday)


HERTFORDSHIRE Fire and Rescue Service is warning of the dangers of storing extra petrol, in the wake of this week’s fuel saga.

With concerns mounting about a possible fuel drivers’ strike in the coming weeks, there may be a temptation to stock up on fuel to beat any shortages.

There has already been evidence of panic buying at some petrol stations in the St Albans District, including the Shell garage just south of Redbourn.

The law allows for the storage of up to 20 litres of petrol in two ten-litre metal containers, or ten litres in two five-litre plastic containers. Any containers must be designed specifically for the purpose and must be marked petroleum and highly flammable.

However, even with a small amount of petrol, the consequences in the event of a fire could be disastrous, not only to the occupants and surrounding properties but to the emergency services as well. If stored in cars it also creates an extra fire hazard.

Motorists should also be aware that filling a car from a jerry can is extremely hazardous with the potential for a serious fire to develop in seconds.

Chief Fire Officer, Roy Wilsher, said: “I don’t think people realise the explosive risks involved in storing fuel, even if it is done legally and sensibly. We would strongly advise Hertfordshire residents not to stock up on petrol. Given the small amount that is legal to store it’s hardly worth the enormous risk to lives and property.”

More safety information can be found on at

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I should probably have taken the hint! Walking out into the garden recently an unprecedented flock of thirty or more crows raucously greeted me from the treetops at the bottom of my garden. Cawing and croaking these big, black birds clung clumsily to the top most branches and twigs, jostling and flapping to stay balanced in a constant flurry of feathers. There is always something ominous about crows – they are after all carrion crows, the vultures of the bird world – always watching for scraps and weakness that might mean their next meal.

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