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Gas station paying for repairs to cars that died after tanking up

State inspected gas station Wednesday to collect fuel samples for testing

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FERNANDINA BEACH, Fla. – Some drivers who claim their cars broke down Tuesday after filling up their tanks at a Fernandina Beach gas station will be reimbursed for any damage to their vehicles.

That news comes a day after several people complained that their vehicles stopped running properly, or wouldn't start, shortly after they got gas at the Flash Foods on Atlantic Avenue near Tarpon Street.

In response to those complaints, the Department of Agriculture sent an inspector to the gas station Wednesday morning to check out the pumps and collect samples for testing, a spokesperson said.

The test results are pending and there's no word yet on how long it could take for them to be released.

John Jones, a mechanic with Sonya's Tire and Automotive Center, said two Acura sport-utility vehicles were towed to his shop Tuesday not long after their owners said they tanked up with gas.

After draining the SUVs' gas tanks and funneling their contents into jugs, Jones said it was apparent both contained a mixture of water and fuel, but most of the liquid was water.

"We're about three-quarters of the way through the process now, basically pulling the plugs and getting everything cleaned up," Jones told News4Jax.

In the eight years he's worked as an auto mechanic, Jones said something like this is relatively rare. "I've seen this happen once," he said.

Damage to the vehicles was significant enough that Jones said the bill for repairs, initially quoted at a few hundred dollars, will now likely climb as high as $1,000 per vehicle.

Fortunately for the vehicles' owners, Flash Foods has offered to pick up the tab for those repairs, Jones said, and they also will receive refunds for their gas.