Junyi Liu

On May 20, 2023, a 76-year-old woman pulled into a Comox, British Columbia, gas station and struck a gas pump. Flames erupted at the front end of the car. Inside the station, co-owner Junyi Liu, 41, of Comox, immediately turned off the electrical breakers to the gas pumps, but about 1 gallon of gas in the fuel pump hose also caught fire. Within seconds, the heat from the fire burned off the rubber nozzles on a nearby propane dispenser, spilling propane onto the woman’s vehicle, which accelerated the fire. Flames quickly reached 10 feet high. Liu ran out of the store with a fire extinguisher, but the extinguisher’s pin was too tight and would not work. He ran to the car and opened its front, passenger door but he could not reach the car’s driver. A bystander joined in the efforts to help, while Liu ran to the driver’s-side door, nearest the flames, just as the woman began opening the driver’s door. With flames reaching the ceiling of the carport, Liu pushed open the door the rest of the way and picked up the woman, carrying her to safety. Within 10 seconds from the time of the crash, flames engulfed the fuel station’s entire carport. The woman was in shock and had suffered minor burns to her face but recovered. Liu suffered minor burns to his hand and arm but did not seek treatment.