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Tim Howard
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AUTHORITIES SAY A VAN EXPLODED AT A VENICE GAS STATION MONDAY AFTERNOON, BUT IT COULD HAVE BEEN A CATASTROPHE IF NOT FOR A QUICK THINKING ATTENDANT.  ACCORDING TO THE HERALD TRIBUNE, 60 YEAR OLD RAY APPLEGATE PULLED INTO THE CLARK’S PURE GAS STATION IN THE 200 BLOCK OF US 41 BYPASS AT AROUND 1PM MONDAY TO FILL UP.  HE HAD TROUBLE STARTING HIS 1989 VAN, SO HE PUSHED IT ABOUT 15 FEET AWAY FROM THE GAS PUMPS.  APPLEGATE THEN POURED STARTER FLUID AND GAS INTO THE CARBURETOR TO JUMP-START IT, BUT THE ENGINE CAUGHT ON FIRE.  THE ALERT GAS STATION ATTENDANT A FIRE EXTINGUISHER TO PUT OUT THE FLAMES AND SHUT OFF THE PUMPS AS A PRECAUTION.  GOOD THING THEY DID BECAUSE THE VEHICLE EXPLODED A SHORT TIME LATER.  VENICE FIREFIGHTERS RESPONDED QUICKLY AND PUT THE FIRE OUT WITHIN MINUTES, PREVENTING IT FROM SPREADING TO THE PUMPS AND BUILDING.  APPLEGATE TOLD THE PAPER HE KNEW THERE WAS A PROBLEM AND WAS GOING TO FIX IT, BUT HE WAS SHORT OF FUNDS.  HE LOST ABOUT $2000 WORTH OF SUPPLIES.