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When the fuel runs out - real life incident

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posted on Aug, 11 2009 @ 08:13 AM
We had a fire at the only fuel station in our small town last night. As you can see from the pic below (hopefully I got it right) it was completely gutted.

We've only got a population of around 400 but we have a lot of trucks going through as well as "grey nomads" touring the outback in their campervans.

In a rural environment, there is usually plenty of diesel around in tanks on the various farms, however this is consumed fairly quickly by machinery and by the long distances people have to cover to get anywhere. We're about 100 km away from the nearest town with fuel.

Less than a few hours after the fire, we had a few people stranded, after thinking they'd be able to fuel up once they got here. The truckies were okay, they let each other know via CB that there was no fuel in town and they made their fuel stops earlier in other places.

However, quite a few locals with medical appointments have had to cancel their visits to the large regional hospitals - the paramedic and the police will have to travel 100 km each way to fill up every day, leaving the town unattended during the two hours it takes to get to the fuel station and back again. And let's hope that they are not called out to one of the more outlying areas which often requires all of their fuel in both the main and reserve tanks, often only just scraping back into town.

Six part time workers at the fuel station here have lost their jobs - a devastating blow to a rural community with not a lot of employment options.

On a positive note - the local speed demons and their tyre burning donut activities seem to have come to a temporary halt.

No one knows when or how fuel supplies will be resumed. There is talk of the oil company stationing a large tanker here in a shed with temporary eftpos facilities, however I understand that this is a solution being mooted by some of the locals, with no definitive answer from the oil company.

There is no public transport. Anything required from the shops other than the basic necessities, requires a planned shopping trip. Nearest big town - 5 hours by road.

Prior to this fire, there was already a major problem with fuel theft from unattended tanks of trucks and machinery as well as theft from farms.

So, we're in a potential mini SitX right now. Food supplies still get delivered twice weekly to the grocery store (yep that's one, singular, lonely grocery store!) by truck, but people in the outlying areas will have limited options to get into town to purchase them.

We will cope of course, and we know that this is only a temporary setback of maybe a month or two. I hope. No one really knows what the servo owners are going to do particularly since they are of retirement age, and had the business up for sale. Maybe the oil company will take pity on a small community of 400 people, and simply rebuild the station and offer it out to lease. Yeah. Right.

There is a strong spirit of co-operation here in the bush, but it will be interesting to see how things pan out and the mechanisms that the community employs to get through this. However, multiply this scenario by several big cities, and suddenly I'm very, very glad to be stuck here in the outback. Isolation or not. If a certain apprehension and uncertainty can take hold of people out here, who are used to doing it tough, and whose livelihoods have come to depend so deeply on a ready supply of fuel, then I really don't like to think of the outcome in a large city with a shut down fuel delivery system. Certainly, the worry has already started.

It's our own mini oil shock and it'll be interesting exercise to see how things pan out and how people cope. I'll keep you posted.

[edit on 11-8-2009 by tangotemper]

[edit on 11-8-2009 by tangotemper]

posted on Aug, 11 2009 @ 08:44 AM
That sounds pretty rough.
And don't new gas stations take a fair while to build? (a month at least, I assume)

posted on Aug, 11 2009 @ 09:21 AM
Whilst not as immediately severe or as impacting as your current situation, I do remember the social reaction to the petrol-strikes in 2000 (wiki link)

Folk were immediately out in their vehicles at all hours, scouting for stations with supplies, and once one found, would have hoards of vehicles all queueing, and ironically, with engines running in the traffic jam.

The sensible ones kept vehicles off the road and conserved fuel for essential travel only, although there were numerous reports of thefts by tank-siphoning and even by puncturing the tanks and collecting with a bowl underneath

...when the sheeple flocks start stampedeing, get the hell outta the way or get steamrollered by ten tons of stupid

[edit on 11-8-2009 by Taikonaut]

posted on Aug, 11 2009 @ 11:06 AM
Thanks for sharing this Tango. We have many communities like that too. I'll be interested to know how they fix that problem. Any word on why the station burned?

posted on Aug, 11 2009 @ 02:47 PM
Years ago when i lived in Nevada we had the same thing happen. Over 75 miles to the next nearist station

What some enterprising person did was bring in a old fuel truck for filling small planes from a airport with the nozzles in the back and set up as a temporary filling station.

They had a fuel tanker come and fill the fuel truck every night.

[edit on 11-8-2009 by ANNED]

posted on Aug, 11 2009 @ 07:05 PM
Pretty simple answer...its called logistics, have all the appointments changed to the same day, have a bus with all the remaining diesel in the area fueled up...and once a week take the bus to the medical center who should be ready for you..fuel up on the way there or the way an emergency there should be a bush pilot or helicopter ready to help out the town.

posted on Aug, 11 2009 @ 07:18 PM
Sorry about the gas station Man! Sounds #ty. Houston had a similar problem after Hurricane Ike, all being said not exactly as stranded as you guys are but with the number of vehicles here and Power out, No gas station could Pump. Those that got generators going ran out of fuel fast.

Gas stations on the major highways were also running out, as people left the city or drove out to them to fill up. In the end we were lucky that the power was out only between 2-7 days depending on where you lived.

Business came to a holt.

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