Gas station blames distributor for watered-down gas

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – Cars driving away from a gas station at William and Fillmore in Buffalo broke down a short time later. It turns out, they had put watered-down gas into their tanks.

It’s been three weeks since the incident, but it remains who is at fault for the damage to cars. However, the gas station operators have already paid for some customers’ repairs to their fuel systems.

Khaja Ansari, manager of Will and Fill Petroleum, believes wholeheartedly that he was delivered gas with water in it.

“At the end of the day it was an unfortunate incident that happened,” he said. “We have it on video, as soon as the truck left, peoples’ cars started dying out.”

But Erie County Weights and Measures officials disagree, saying Buckeye Terminals puts out hundreds of thousands of gallons a day. Ed Gonsiorek, who works for the county, says if there was water during delivery, other gas stations would have had the same problem.

He beieves the station at William and Fillmore must have a leak in its underground tank.

“It’s very unlikely that he got bad gas from the distributor,” Gonsiorek said. “It’s more than likely it’s going to be a cracked pipe, cracked fill, something gave way between the winter and water’s being introduced into the system.”

On the day in question, February 25, there was an estimated 800 gallons of water in the underground tank before the pumps were shut off. About 25 people have a valid claim for car repairs.

Gas station operators are repeatedly going back to the surveillance video to determine if someone making a claim of bad gas was actually at their station on the day that there was water in the gasoline.

“We rewind the tape, see that they got the gas at that certain time and then, we said okay fine, we’re going to go after the insurance later but we’re going to take care of you guys first,” Ansari said.

Will and Fill Petroleum owner Syed Rahman said, “We have to rebuild the whole confidence of the people, and it takes time.”

The gas station operators have already had their tank drained of water twice. Now they are waiting for it to be pressure-tested this week before the state DEC and county will consider allowing them to see 87 octane again.

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