Fuel from gas station causes car to break down, couple says

Parent company of Fernandina Beach Flash Foods on 8th Street denies liability

By Lauren Verno - Consumer investigative reporter

FERNANDINA BEACH, Fla. - There's a consumer alert in Nassau County, where a Fernandina Beach couple said fuel from a gas station caused their car to break down. 

Alan Rossmeissl said he went to the Flash Foods gas station on South Eighth Street in Fernandina Beach on March 30. Just minutes after filling the tank, Rossmeissl said the check engine light came on. 

"I stopped at a red light to come home and when I stopped, the car started to idle, very roughly," Rossmeissl said.

The next day his concerns grew when the light didn’t turn off. 

"I was thinking two things: It could have been bad gas or maybe there was some residue in my tank," Rossmeissl said. 

Unfortunately, he was right.

Documents obtained by News4Jax show a mechanic from Davis Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep in Yulee confirmed water was found in the fuel tank, costing the Rossmeissl family $411.28 out of pocket. 

News4Jax went to the Flash Food gas station Thursday and found someone from the Department of Agriculture was already there, talking about checking the fuel lines. 

When asked about the situation, a manager told News4Jax that she was advised to say the gas station had no comment. 

Circle K letter

News4Jax attempted to contact the parent company of Flash Foods, Circle K, but had not received a call back as of early Thursday evening. Rossmeissl said he and his wife, Carol, did receive a response.

"About a week went by and just last night, actually, I got the email saying I got denied," Rossmeissl's wife said.

Circle K sent an email to the couple, denying liability on its part and saying its investigation found:

  • "There was no water in our fuel tanks
  • No evidence of fuel contamination 
  • No report of cross contamination
  • 4,233.1 gallons were sold that day 
  • No other customer complaints"

The couple said they are not satisfied with Circle K’s response. They said they believe they had sufficient evidence, including documentation from the mechanic and a receipt from that day. 

"I just want to be reimbursed for what it cost me out of my pocket," Rossmeissl said. 

News4Jax has also asked the Department of Agriculture when the test results would come back, but was still waiting for a response as of early Thursday evening. 

In November, News4Jax reported that drivers said their cars stopped working after filling up at the Flash Foods on Atlantic Avenue near Tarpon Street -- about 3 miles away from the Flash Foods on South 8th Street. The gas station offered to reimburse those drivers for car repairs.

News4Jax asked mechanics whether there is anything drivers can do to protect themselves from situations like these. They could only recommend that if the check engine light comes on after getting gas, keep the receipt and get the vehicle checked out immediately. 

Copyright 2019 by WJXT News4Jax - All rights reserved.