BALTIMORE, Md. — It is estimated 46 customers may have purchased kerosene contaminated with gasoline from the Shell station and Dash In store on Liberty Road between Wednesday, January 23 and Tuesday, February 5, but the threat of a fire from the mixture is the least of Gregory Hines’ worries.
"I had to go to the hospital. They sent me to the hospital. I just turned 70 years old, and my kids found me unresponsive so what are you going to do?" said Hines.
"Did you have any idea what was causing it?" we asked him.
"No. They didn't know what was wrong,” he responded, “My sugar went down to 30. I was in the hospital until 12:30 the next day, and then this came out and I looked at my stove and I was like, 'Now, I know what was up.'"
Baltimore County fire officials have spread word of the contamination, and the Maryland Department of the Environment has made sure the kerosene pump is shut down and both the tank and its pipes have been flushed.
A cryptic emergency alert texted in Baltimore County has grabbed the attention of people who recently pumped gas at the station that has nothing to do with the contaminated kerosene, like Edwin Rice's aunt.
"She didn't even want to stop the car,” said Rice, “She hadn't driven when she found the alert, so I thought I would take a chance."
Tracy Wright of Randallstown shared a similar fear after getting gas there over the weekend.
"I'm driving and I get this text message, and I'm driving,” said Wright, “So yes, I thought my car was going to catch on fire."
But amidst the unfounded fears and kerosene customers returning their contaminated fuel for a new container and a refund, there are others like Leroy Agusto.
"I was sick for about a week... nauseous... headaches... I couldn't think of my best friend's name,” said Agusto, “I gave the guy behind me some kerosene I got for him. He passed out... unresponsive."
Augusto also purchased the kerosene for one of his best friends, Gregory Hines, only to find out later it may have been what nearly killed him.
"You know they're offering free cans and they're paying for the kerosene and before they pay for my kerosene, I asked them, 'What are you offering me this money for?' Because this is not ending here,” said Agusto, “This is definitely not ending here. I've got a best friend behind me, elderly man, almost lost his life."
The Maryland Department of the Environment regulates the delivery of fuel and the operation of service stations in the state, and we're told it is investigating this incident, and it has not yet determined what actions, if any, may be forthcoming from the handling or sale of the contaminated kerosene.