'The business itself should do something to make it right,' says woman whose vehicle seized up
Several drivers are upset and stuck without a mode of transportation after they say their vehicles died on the road shortly after fuelling up at a Selkirk, Man., gas station this weekend.
A number of people posted about vehicle troubles on a local social media page Sunday night and Monday morning after they say they filled up at an Esso gas station at the corner of Main Street and Heap Avenue in the city about 30 km northeast of Winnipeg.
Yogesh Sharma, co-owner of the gas station, said the station received a report from the public on Sunday night. They shut the pumps down Monday and stopped selling gas until a technician can diagnose the issue, he said.
Three drivers told CBC News they had these vehicle issues Sunday, and a local tow truck driver said he has towed about half a dozen vehicles in the past 24 hours whose owners said they were at the gas station moments before their vehicles seized up.
"I'm not at work today so I don't get paid," said Ashley Capner. "I can't go anywhere, I have to depend on somebody else that can hopefully pick up my son from school."
Capner said she filled up around 3:30 p.m. Sunday and wound up stuck on the side of the road a short time later when her vehicle stopped working.
Sharma said it's unclear if the issue reported by drivers is in fact linked to fuel from his station. He and another employee filled up there Sunday and didn't have issues, he said.
Half-dozen vehicles towed
A section of the parking lot near the pumps was covered in water Sunday and Monday. Capner speculated that maybe water got into the station's fuel containers.
Capner called her father Richard Choboter, who works at a local tow company.
Choboter said he towed about half a dozen vehicles in the area since Sunday where drivers said their vehicle died after fuelling up at the same location.
He said he went to the gas station mid-afternoon Sunday and alerted them to the possibility that there could be something wrong with their fuel. He said he told them they should consider stopping the sale of gas at that time.
"A lot of people don't have money to rent a car or don't have a second vehicle, so they're going to be stranded," said Choboter.
Caleb McKinnon and Breanne LaFreniere say their sole vehicle is out of commission after filling up there midday Sunday.
McKinnon said the car experienced issues blocks away from the gas station, and then came to a halt. The vehicle wouldn't start up again so they had it towed to their home.
"It was definitely a scare having to pull over," said McKinnon.
He and LaFreniere relied on the vehicle to get to work and school in Winnipeg, he said.
"If there was multiple people, something was wrong at the gas station," said LaFreniere. "The business itself should do something to make it right."
Gas in tanks, gas cans
Choboter also towed Pamela Ostop and her boyfriend Sunday night.
They put about $120 of regular gas in their truck at the station on Sunday at about 9:30 p.m. and another $80 worth into two gas cans, said Ostop.
"We left the station and made it approximately 600 metres when our truck starting shaking, sputtering and having no acceleration," she wrote in a message to CBC News.
"Another vehicle pulled up and a young man mentioned that there were a number of vehicles on the side of the road around the area."
Ostop said once they got home they checked on the gas from the cans and poured some into a clear bottle. She said there was a layer of what appeared to be water separated from fuel.
She posted to a couple Facebook groups to alert drivers and said over a dozen people commented or contacted her saying something similar occurred to them.
Ostop said she has since heard from someone with the station informing her of an inspection, and that they will be in touch about next steps.
Sharma said if there was indeed an issue with the gas supply, the station would have to file an insurance claim. If that is the case, Sharma said they would would work with affected customers who still have a receipt for their fuel from this weekend to find a solution.
"If there's an issue from our side, it's our issue, right? We will deal with it," he said. "Things like this happen, you know, it can happen to any gas station."
Capner said she spoke with MPI on Monday about filing a claim after going to the gas station and describing to staff there what happened.
She wasn't satisfied with their response and said she doesn't plan to return to that station.
"We're tight knit," said Capner. "If I don't go … my family and friends aren't going to go."
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Bryce Hoye is a multi-platform Manitoba journalist covering news, science, justice, health, 2SLGBTQ issues and other community stories. He has a background in wildlife biology and occasionally works for CBC's Quirks & Quarks and Front Burner. He won a national Radio Television Digital News Association award for a 2017 feature on the history of the fur trade. He is also Prairie rep for outCBC.
Credit belongs to : www.cbc.ca