While unloading fuel, Coronach Coop’s fuel truck driver Marc Beauregard’s business cell phone rang in his work coverall. He did what most of us would do, he pulled it out of his pocket to answer it.
As Marc pulled the phone out, his clothing ignited and he burst into flames.
The reason for that fire is up for discussion. One might say that the phone caused some sort of spark or static electricity that ignited the fumes and fuel on Beauregard’s hands and clothing.
Another might say that the static created by pulling the cell phone from his pocket ignited the fire.
A little research online will uncover many articles about cell phones and their alleged connection to starting gas fume fires. What you will also find is the same amount of articles discounting each of these stories and declaring such stories as myths or urban legends.
One can not be sure what caused the tragedy, but regardless of the cause, Beauregard is paying the price.
When Marc’s clothing started afire, he first extinguished the flames on his clothing using his hands then dialed 911. He was unsuccessful with that particular call, hung up and called Arlene Colibaba, the Office Manager for the Coronach Co-op where he works.
Poor cell phone service made it very difficult for Colibaba to make out Beauregard’s words. Colibaba is frustrated that she had such trouble hearing her co-worker who desperately needed her help. It took her a number of minutes to even figure out who was calling and then she could hear the panic in his voice.
I don’t understand why we still have such poor cell phone service so close to town? - Arlene Colibaba
She picked up “fire” and “ambulance” and his location which was at the farm of Travis Willford, whose farm is a few miles south of Coronach.
“I don’t understand why we still have such poor cell phone service so close to town?” she said.
Colibaba hung up the phone and wondered what her next step would be.
Co-worker Lynn Berthelot and customer Larai Ingram encouraged her to quickly dial 911. Berthelot explained to the 911 dispatcher what they knew and hung up the phone.
Ingram, who is an Licensed Practical Nurse, left the Co-op and went to the scene to provide whatever assistance she could to Beauregard as he waited for the ambulance.
According to Colibaba, only Beauregard’s clothing started fire and there was no fire on the ground.
Beauregard suffered severe burns on his legs, abdomen and hands. Beauregard was rushed to Regina where he is receiving treatment for non life threatening injuries.
According to Colibaba, a Regina hospital staff member credited the flame resistant coveralls for saving Beauregard’s life. These types of coveralls burn differently than regular fabric, creating less heat.
One thing is for sure, whether the cell phone started the fire or not, it surely got him the help he needed in a very dangerous situation.