Firefighter's harrowing picture highlights how dangerous it is to carry fuel cans in cars

28 September 2021, 10:34 | Updated: 28 September 2021, 10:57

A motorist filling up a jerry can at a London petrol station on Monday
A motorist filling up a jerry can at a London petrol station on Monday. Picture: Getty

By James Morris

A firefighter has warned panic buyers to “beware” of just how dangerous it can be to transport jerry cans of fuel in cars.

Steve Dudeney, a former senior commander at London Fire Brigade, shared a picture of the ruinous aftermath of a car fire from 2009 after the driver had placed petrol containers in his boot.

Mr Dudeney, who is now retired, said “escaping petrol vapour met an ignition source in his car”, causing it to catch fire.

The driver was badly burned, Mr Dudeney said, and “I never heard if he survived”.

Mr Dudeney had issued the stark warning on Saturday, with the fuel shortage crisis having now continued into a fifth day, with the army on standby to deliver fuel.

Panic buying has continued with massive queues outside forecourts, including motorists filling up jerry cans.

Halfords, meanwhile, reported a 17-fold rise in the number of jerry cans sold over the weekend compared to the same period a week earlier.

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According to Health and Safety Executive guidance, individuals are allowed to store up to 30 litres of petrol at home or non-workplace “premises” – which includes motor vehicles.

However, the AA has been warning as far back as 2012 that storing fuel in cars is "incredibly, incredibly dangerous" and shouldn’t even be contemplated.

Ministers have repeatedly urged the public not to panic buy, insisting the country has "ample" supplies of fuel.