Hartford Gas Station Shuts Down Pumps After Drivers Fill Up With Water

It was trouble at the pump in Hartford after drivers realized they had filled their tanks with water. 

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For 23-year-old Selena Pineda, the start of her week came as a shock. Not once, but twice.

First, when she found herself stuck on the highway for three hours, and later, when she got a call about her gas tank. It wasn't until she got a voicemail from the dealership, saying that her tank was filled with water.

"My concerns were, 'Do I need to sue somebody? Do I talk to somebody? Like, who is responsible for this,'" Pineda said.

Around midnight on Tuesday, while on her way home from a friend's house, she stopped to fill up and spent $53 on what she thought was gas. But when she got back on the highway minutes later, her car broke down.

"Right underneath the sign exit 29A, that's where my car had completely stalled out and I had immediately rushed to the shoulder," Pineda said.

A frightening experience as she wrote on social media, "anything could have happened to me and everyone in my car last night." Pineda wasn't the only driver affected. Eight people called Phillips 66 in Hartford to report similar issues.

This is the first time Phillips 66 has seen a fuel situation like this. Trucks could get diesel fuel, but ten pumps are shut down until further notice.

The owner didn't wish to appear on camera but explained that it was an accident. A truck broke one of the pipe caps for the underground storage tanks. Monday's storm then caused water to enter the tank. As of Tuesday morning, caution tape and bags covered nozzles with the exception of a few diesel pumps.

The Department of Consumer Protection said the owner had the tanks cleaned Tuesday and is waiting until it is clear to open the pumps.

"It does happen more often than you know of," said Jason Mccormick, owner of Good Guys Auto House.

Mccormick said it's common to see this situation where temperatures fluctuate. Weather can also be a factor. He suggests going to well-used gas stations, where fuel is constantly being pumped.

Addressing car problems as soon as you notice them is another good practice.

"One of the biggest things is when someone equates driving their car, and it starts to not run correctly, your first thought is, 'well, I filled up with gas' so that's not it. So, you dismiss that. When it could be as simple as the fuel that was added to the vehicle," Mccormick said.

AAA recommends always getting a time-stamped receipt or use a credit card, so the purchase is on-record.

Not only is Pineda is looking at a $53 bill for filling up, but it is also costing her $1,200 to fix her tank and $500 for a rental car. But she said the gas station will reimburse her and others for the expenses.

"The man was willing to talk to me. He was very nice. And let me know he was going pay for all the damages and all the replacements," Pineda said.

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