Officials: One dead in Savannah gas station explosion
An 87-year-old man was killed Tuesday morning after his SUV was struck by another vehicle and caromed into a service station fuel pump in Savannah, causing an explosion.
James Lester, 87, hometown not provided, was killed in the 11 a.m. accident at Bull Street and DeRenne Avenue, The Savannah-Chatham Metropolitan Police Department said.
Investigators said Lester tried to drive his Chevrolet Blazer across Bull Street, crossing into the path of a Toyota Prius driving northbound on Bull Street by a 61-year-old man. The investigators said the Prius driver had no chance to stop before hitting the passenger side of Lester’s Blazer.
The collision sent the SUV out of control through the BP parking lot and into a gas pump, the department said. The SUV flipped on its side and caught fire with Lester trapped inside.
The collision remains under investigation.
Savannah Fire Department spokesman Mark Keller said one person inside the station store escaped, but firefighters had to create a “water shield” to aid a second person out of the building.
Keller said the impact of Lester’s vehicle sheared the pump fully off its foundations, allowing fumes in the stations’ underground storage tank to catch fire.
The fire was extinguished a few minutes before noon.