Investigators sifting the charred wreck of an SUV that crashed into a gas pump of an ARCO station at 3400 Willow Pass Road say a small dog may have interfered with the operation of the vehicle and contributed to the crash.
The fiery collision occurred at 5:40 p.m. At least one person suffered burns as a result of the crash and subsequent fire. It was not immediately known if the injured person was the driver or a rescuer.
A small dog, believed to be a chihuahua, was reportedly found dead in the wreckage. Investigators were following up to see if the dog interfered with the vehicle’s operation in some way, possibly by interfering with the brake or gas pedals.
Bystanders told News24/680 that the car’s operator had filled up at the station when it suddenly surged forward, slamming into a pump and igniting a fire.
“The people got out but they were yelling about something,” said witness Robert Ayala. “After a little while I could hear they were yelling about their dog and that it was still in the car.”
Firefighters confirmed that the dog died in the crash and the people inside the car suffered minor burns but were expected to recover.
Damage from the resultant fire caused “extensive” damage to the gas station pump island and canopy.
“It was really burning,” Ayala said. “I thought the whole station was going to explode.”