Contaminated gas found at East El Paso station; customers to get help

Nearly two dozen customers stranded after pumping gas

POSTED: 08:11 PM MDT Jul 15, 2013    UPDATED: 09:25 PM MST Jan 15, 2014 
EL PASO, Texas -

The loudest rumble at an East El Paso gas station Friday night didn't come from the cars. It came from customers fuming over their stalled cars.

As ABC-7 reported, nearly two dozen customers were very upset when their vehicles stopped working after filling up  a the 7-Eleven, now Alon, gas station at the corner of Zaragoza Road and Sunfire Boulevard.

One after the other, vehicles just began breaking down. Some stopped a mile away from the gas station, some weren't even able to roll out of the parking lot.

"I was driving away and all of a sudden, the car shut down," a woman told ABC-7.

When reporter Jerry Najera arrived, police were there to help mediate between customers and the store employees. The station's parking lot was full of vehicles with their hoods up waiting to be towed.

A representative for Alon Brands, the company that distributes the gas to the store, confirmed 20 or 21 vehicles were affected.

Arturo Tovar, a customer whose vehicle stalled, said he is likely facing a steep bill.

"A mechanic stopped by to help me out and he assessed the vehicle. He was telling me what they're going to have to do is drop the fuel tank and replace the fuel pump," Tovar said. "It's supposed to cost over $600, so I'm pretty concerned in that area."

According to Blake Lewis, with Lewis Public Relations, which represents Alon, the problem was isolated to a single storage tank at that location which was possibly contaminated with water.

Lewis said the fuel was good when it left the distribution center, but an investigation leads the company to believe the gas became contaminated on the drive to El Paso.

The tank was cleared out and reopened over the weekend with no other incidents, he said.

Blake assured ABC-7 Alon is "committed to making it right for their customers," though more details were not available.