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Monday, August 22, 2016

Cheating Death

Good evening!

Let me start off this post by thanking God that I am alive to write it. Saturday, I had a brush with death and I still can't fully wrap my head around what happened.

I'm watchin' you...

It all started on Friday when my hubby and I went to visit our friend to provide emotional support and act as witnesses because Child Protective Services was invading her house on totally bogus charges made by a former acquaintance. He contacted CPS and made up outrageous claims to get back at her for getting rid of his stuff which he had dropped off at her house and refused to come back and pick it up when she told him to (he also texted and emailed her what he was going to do, so there are legal grounds for prosecution against him for this too). Thankfully, our good deed worked and the CPS caseworker closed the case. After the caseworker left, my husband took our friend to get some cigarettes and she accidentally left her phone in the car. None of us realized that she'd done this, and it wasn't until we got home and I was cleaning out the cupholder when I saw it was there. Since it was getting dark and my hubby had to change out the grommet on the gas tank (it was very worn and leaked fuel every time we filled the tank more than halfway), I figured we'd go by her house the next day and drop it off before going to Confession. It was her only working phone and I didn't want her to be stuck without it for long.

Saturday was spent doing housework and working on the car (the gas tank was fixed, but that damned electrical short has returned!). We were aiming to go to our friend's home first and then to Confession in the evening, but first we had to stop and get gas. My husband and I observed that the tank itself was in good condition (there was not a spot of rust or perforation anywhere inside that tank when I looked into it as my husband was replacing the grommet the previous day), and he wanted to see how much gas it held when completely filled. The screen at the pump read 24 gallons when my husband had to manually stop the pump because the tank was overfilling. He was thrilled because that meant our cholomobile's gas tank was a full-size tank appropriate to a C-body Mopar (they ranged in size from 23-26 gallons)!

And that was when all hell broke loose.

As my husband was pumping air into the rear air shocks, he saw to his horror that the fuel line had ruptured on the car! Gasoline was spilling onto the concrete and if the leak wasn't stopped, the scene could get deadly in a hurry. My husband got under the car and stuck his finger in the leak to stop it while I ran into the store with the baby in one arm and a 5 gallon bucket in the other to fill with water and wash off the gasoline that was now dousing my husband. One of the assistants in the gas station also came to our aid by filling up the bucket with water and pouring it on my husband, getting me the number to a local cab company so I could call and get a ride to the nearby auto parts store to get replacement fuel line, and calling the fire department to help contain and manage the highly flammable mess.


Fortunately, the cab arrived at the gas station within 10 minutes and transported the baby and I to the auto parts store. The cabbie was kind enough to wait for me in the parking lot while the boy at the register cut me a foot of replacement fuel line (Even though I had part of the original line with me for reference, I would later discover the line the teenage boy at the store sold me was the wrong size, but I didn't realize it until much later after we got home). The fire department was just leaving when I came back and paid the cabbie for his service. They had sprayed my husband down with a soapy foam mixture to wash the gasoline off of him. His clothes were ruined and he sustained first degree chemical burns on parts of his back (gasoline is a corrosive solvent!), but the situation was under control. The gas station's manager threw some sandy substance onto the ground to absorb the water and gas mixture, and my husband put the new fuel line in place. Once it was attached, we went straight home. Our visit to our friend would have to wait till Sunday. After we got home, my husband checked the vent lines of the tank and saw that they were leaking too, but this time, the situation was not as critical. The leaking vent lines were replaced, but it was mostly just overflow from an overfilled gas tank.

As we were driving home, my husband explained to me the gravity of what had just happened. Since gasoline is so flammable (and people are notorious about not following the anti-smoking instructions posted at gas stations), and here he was doused in the stuff, a careless customer who was smoking or talking on a cellphone could have set off a spark which not only would have turned my husband into a human torch, but also turned our car into a gasoline-filled bomb. The baby and I could very easily have been caught in the blazing inferno, as well as other customers and their cars. The fire department would have been dealing with casualties and alot of destruction. In fact, just before they left, the firemen thanked my husband for his quick thinking to get under the car and plug the line before calling them because his action had saved lives and property.

Angels watchin' over me

I used to wonder about how I'd react when faced with my own mortality. Would I be indifferent? Would I fight back or cry? Would I be relieved to finally cross over the threshold so few return from? Well, here I was, one spark away from meeting God face to face, and I was...numb. I'd been so hopped up on adrenaline, racing to get the replacement fuel line and water all while toting the baby in one arm, that the idea that I might die because of the gas fumes igniting didn't even register on my radar. Even now, a few days later, I still can't believe how close I came to meeting a grisly end. And, that was without anything actually happening. My guardian angel was working overtime to make sure nothing happened to us, or anyone else.

As for our friend's phone, we got it back to her on Sunday afternoon before we went to church. She was freaked out when I told her how close we came to getting barbecued on Saturday evening at the gas station because of the ruptured fuel line. Unfortunately, she couldn't come to church with us, but she was glad to see we were ok and to have her phone back.

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