An injured Circle K employee who attempted to save the life of a customer engulfed in flames at a gas pump has filed suit in the Pinellas County courts.

Palm Harbor Circle K Employee Who Tried To Save Woman From Gas Station Fire Files Suit

An injured Circle K employee who attempted to save the life of a customer engulfed in flames at a gas pump has filed suit in the Pinellas County courts.

PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. – An injured Circle K employee who attempted to save the life of a customer engulfed in flames at a gas pump has filed suit in the Pinellas County courts.

The suit is dated October 28 and is filed against 15 defendants.

The defendants include Circle K itself, along with a local store company “East Lake R2G Owner, LLC.”

Shell Oil Company is also sued, along with a series of gas station designers, constructors, installers, and inspectors of both gas pumps and fire extinguishers.

Lisa Herbolsheimer Black is a defendant for causing an accident at gas pump #7/8 of the Circle K store located at 3470 East Lake Road in Palm Harbor.

On December 22, 2021, Circle K employee, Brandy McCann Merila, rushed to save Sheryl Caballes, a mother of five, who had caught fire, according to the lawsuit.

Caballes was suddenly pinned between her Honda Pilot SUV, the gas pump, and the ground when defendant Lisa Black allegedly backed up her 2006 Nissan 350Z to pump gas.

Black’s driving maneuvers caused the gas dispenser equipment to topple Caballes. A fire ignited consuming Caballes while her children and McCann Merila attempted to save her. Caballes died from her injuries.

The lawsuit alleges that “Emergency Stop” systems in place at the time of the incident were malfunctioning. As a result, Plaintiff McCann Merila inhaled “gas fumes, smoke, and chemicals” from the gas dispenser and a malfunctioning fire extinguisher while attempting to save Caballes.

The suit states there are ongoing and permanent injuries to McCann Merila’s health.

The suit claims the defendants, with the exception of Black, were directly or vicariously negligent in ensuring the safe and effective operation of the gas dispensing equipment, the fire extinguisher, and safety equipment.

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Among a lengthy series of legal complaints against these defendants, Shell USA is accused of “continuing to supply gasoline to (a) station that they knew or should have known failed to properly maintain its dispensers/nozzles; (and) failed to shut down the gas dispensers in spite of complaints to the store about gasoline on the pavement.”

In counts against the defendants, it was disclosed that the gas pump’s shear valve, which prevents the flow of gas in cases of malfunctioning, was disposed of once the defendant, Guardian Fueling Technologies, received the component from Circle K employees.

This act of disposal constitutes missing evidence for the case. Allegedly, an employee discarded the component.

McCann Merila is represented by Jonathan I. Rotstein of Rotstein and Shiffman Law Offices. They are located in Daytona Beach. They could not be reached over the weekend for comment.

Multiple attempts were made to reach McCann Merila but neither could she be reached.

Guardian Fueling Technologies is located in Tampa.

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