Contaminated fuel sold at gas station damages car, woman says

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THORNTON, Colo. -- Jin James said when it took 25 minutes to fill up her empty gas tank on May 27, that should’ve been a clue something was amiss.

“I should have stopped it, I feel stupid now,” said James, who added her car barely made it home from the Sinclair gas station at 3905 East 120th Avenue in Thornton. “I start the car and it started making a noise, engine warning sign came on.”

But James said when she called Bradley Petroleum, which owns the Sinclair station, she was told her complaint was stupid. “She didn’t offer to call up the investigator to find out what’s wrong with it (the car). No she didn’t say anything, she got pissed at us and then hung up the phone and this has been seven days. She never called me, anything, nobody actually  helped me.”

The FOX31 Denver Problem Solvers called the Colorado Division of Oil and Public Safety for James, who immediately sent inspectors to the Sinclair Gas Station at 3905 East 120th Avenue in Thornton Thursday afternoon.

When state inspectors arrived they found workers for Bradley Petroleum already pumping fresh gasoline to flush out the underground storage tank.

“The wholesaler of the fuel had water when they dropped off the fuel to the gas station,” said Cher Haavind, a spokeswoman for the Division of Oil and Public Safety, clarifying that the mistake was made by the wholesale supplier not the actual gas station.

Haavind said state inspectors find water contamination at gas stations five to ten times a year in Colorado and adds the impact can be severe and immediate, but the state has no power to force gas stations or their suppliers to pay for a car owner’s broken engine.

“Unfortunately no.  Probably her recourse would be small claims court,” said Haavind.

“Now I want them to do the right thing, fix my car,” said James.

Bradley Petroleum did not return multiple phone calls from FOX31 but a state inspector said he was told by a Bradley representative that the company did intend to pay for the Jin James car repair.

James and her husband told us they have yet to get that promise themselves but are hoping since the car had to be towed to a mechanic to get fixed.

Consumers who have concerns about the quality or quantity of gas they receive can call the Division of Oil and Public Safety at 303-866-4967 to file a complaint.