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Gas theft suspect burned

By wire services
Published August 19, 2004

HIALEAH GARDENS - A man who may have been stealing gasoline suffered severe burns when a 300-gallon tank installed under the seats of his van exploded, police said.

It appears the man was using a stolen credit card to buy the gas when the tank exploded, catching him on fire, police said.

He ran from the gas station, but about 20 minutes later his relatives called for help, authorities said. He was airlifted Tuesday to Ryder Trauma Center. He has not been arrested or identified.

The fire consumed the gas pump island but did not spread to underground storage tanks.

"Firefighters have seen this type of operation before," said Luis Fernandez, Miami-Dade fire rescue spokesman. "What they do is steal a credit card, fill the gas tank and sell the gas at reduced prices in different communities. This is a very dangerous operation."

UCF gets $24-million gift

ORLANDO - A California defense company gave the University of Central Florida $24-million worth of patents, cash and equipment to help the school become a leader in developing smaller computer chips.

Northrop Grumman made the donation Tuesday after receiving the technology - which could produce computer chips a tenth of their current size - as part of a business acquisition. A line of related research is already under way at UCF's College of Optics and Photonics.

[Last modified August 19, 2004, 01:32:17]

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