Gas station hysteria

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October 14, 2016

Many New Providence residents have been lining up for hours to get fuel at various service stations since the passing of Hurricane Matthew. (Photo: Torrell Glinton)

Officials of the major fuel companies that service New Providence assured on Sunday night that there is no shortage of supply and therefore no need for the panic that ensued after a message was circulated on social media claiming the island would soon run out.

Last night, the lines at some stations were still longer than usual.

Throughout the weekend, hundreds of motorists waited for long periods to fill up their tanks. Some put gas and diesel in containers officials warned were not safe to carry the product.

The social media message claimed shortly after the passage of Hurricane Matthew that the dock where fuel is delivered was damaged in the storm and there would be no way to get supplies into the island.

The source of the message was unknown but it was enough to cause hysteria, with some people hoarding gasoline.

"I actually need gas," said Victoria Barnett at the Shell service station near Lynden Pindling International Airport on Sunday afternoon,

"Some of these people don't even need gas.

"They're listening to some rumor, and here I am, not sure how I'm getting to work on Tuesday.

"My car is hard on 'E'.

"What if they run out [of gas] with all of these people in front of me?

"How will I move my car with all of my children in it?"

She said she had been waiting for an hour and a half.

Before that, she said, she visited an Esso station and a Rubis station.

A few feet away from her, customers stood with containers to get fuel.

Juanita Roker said her car cut off while she was trying to find a gas station.

"I live in Coral Harbour," she said. "My car cut off on the airport road while I was trying to get here.

"I had to call my sister to go and get a bottle and drive me here.

"She was mad because that took some of her gas but at least she doesn't have to wait on this line.

"Just look at it. You would go crazy standing up in this heat for all this time just to be able to drive your own car on this little island."

Sharon Cooper admitted that she believed the Whatsapp message that warned residents that New Providence would run out of gas.

Despite hearing reports that the rumor was false, she said she just could not take any chances.

"I've been out here for two hours and I still have a good way to go," said Cooper at the Sandyport Rubis service station on Saturday.

"It is ridiculous. But I saw the message about there not being any more tanks to bring gas in until a few weeks.

"I just can't take any chances. I have to be able to get my two kids around. We can't be trapped.

"My tank is half full, mind you. But, I need extra gas just in case."

In the aftermath of Matthew, some New Providence residents like Ashley Kemp were forced to charge electronics and cool off in their vehicles.

She said while she understands that the rumor is not true, her gas ran out because she had spent two days practically living in her car.

"My light is still off," said the Yellow Elder Gardens resident.

"So I've been sleeping in my car, charging my phone in my car and practically living here.

"I can't take the heat. If the current was on, then me and my full tank of gas would be in bed trying to enjoy my weekend."

Jayme C. Pinder, Guardian Staff Reporter

Click here to read more at The Nassau Guardian

News date : 10/14/2016    Category : Business, Nassau Guardian Stories

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