Gas siphoning mishap sparks explosion that burns car and its garage near Lynden

A man attempting to siphon gas out of a broken-down car reportedly decided to drill into the gas tank and sparked an explosion that burned the car and the four-car garage it was in Saturday morning along Badger Road near Lynden.

North Whatcom Fire and Rescue and Lynden Fire Department crews responded at 8:21 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 5, to the report of a structure fire in the 200 block of West Badger Road, according to the PulsePoint app.

Lynden crews were the first to arrive on scene and saw one end of the garage in flames, North Whatcom Division Chief/Fire Marshal Herschel Rostov told The Bellingham Herald.

Because of the extent of the flames and the fact that the structure wasn’t built with Sheetrock, Rostov said fire crews had to battle the blaze defensively from the outside to avoid the potential dangers of a collapse.

Fire did spread to the remainder of the garage before it was extinguished, but Rostov said nobody was injured.

Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office detectives were called to the scene, Chief Deputy Kevin Hester told The Herald, and found that a man had been given permission to siphon gas from a broken-down car by the owner.

The man was unsuccessful using the traditional siphon method with a hose, Hester said, and decided to attempt to drain fuel by making a hole in the gas tank.

But this method was going too slow, Hester said, so the man decided to drill a larger hole with a bigger drill bit.

The larger bit is believed to sparked and ignited gas fumes, Hester said, causing the explosion that burned the car and the shop that it was in.

“We don’t anticipate any criminal charges coming from this event,” Hester said.

David Rasbach joined The Bellingham Herald in 2005 and now covers breaking news. He has been an editor and writer in several western states since 1994.