Skip to main content

Cigarette lighter gas pump fire leads to criminal charge

By David Simpson, CNN
November 3, 2013 -- Updated 2051 GMT (0451 HKT)
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Man will be charged with reckless conduct in fire that burned wife at gas station
  • Video shows man with lighter near nozzle during refueling
  • Man rushed to withdraw nozzle as flame shot toward his wife
  • Wife suffered second- and third-degree burns

(CNN) -- A Georgia man will face criminal charges for accidentally setting fire to his wife by flicking his lighter near his pickup truck's gas tank while refueling.

Austin Dawkins, 37, of Clarkesville will be charged with reckless conduct, according to a statement from the state fire safety commissioner, Ralph Hudgens.

Dawkins' wife, 30-year-old Jessica Dawkins, suffered second- and third-degree burns to her legs, arms, back and head at a Clarkesville gas station on October 16, Hudgens said.

A gas station surveillance video released by Hudgens shows the couple standing outside the truck near the gas nozzle when Austin Dawkins appeared to ignite his cigarette lighter and then lower his hand to the nozzle. The video shows flame shooting from the nozzle and burning Jessica Dawkins while Austin Dawkins rushes to remove the nozzle.

Reckless conduct is a misdemeanor that can be punished with up to one year in prison and a $1,000 fine.

Watch: Man starts fire at gas station

CNN's Janet DiGiacomo contributed to this report.

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT