- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 17, 2009

COLORADO SPRINGS, COLO. (AP) - A convenience store gasoline pump caught fire and exploded Tuesday, killing a woman and injuring at least one other person, police said.

Witnesses told The Gazette newspaper the pump caught fire after hit was hit by a pickup that had in turn been struck by an SUV. Police said the incident was under investigation.

The woman was pumping gas when the fire erupted, and she was trapped between the pump and a minivan, witnesses said.

“She was standing there screaming ‘Help me! Help me! I’m going to die,’” Greg Alderman told The Gazette.

Police Lt. Dave Whitlock identified the woman who was killed as 18-year-old Whitney Hendrickson of Colorado Springs.

The SUV driver, 29-year-old Kelli Renae McKay of Colorado Springs, was treated at Memorial Hospital for bruises. She was cited for suspicion of careless driving involving a death, a misdemeanor, Whitlock said.

A passenger in the minivan was unharmed as was the driver of the pickup.

Alderman, who works across the street from the 7-Eleven store where the explosion occurred, said he tried to get to the woman but the heat was too intense.

Michael Horvat, who also works across the street, said he ran to the store with a fire extinguisher but an off-duty firefighter yelled at him to back off. Just then the pump exploded.

“She was frozen in there, between the gas pumps and her car,” Horvat said. “She was holding her face. Flames were all around her. She never got out.”

Colorado Springs is about 60 miles south of Denver.

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