A Florida mother-of-five was killed in a freak accident while pumping gas when another car backed into the pump, pinning her against her car and sparking a fireball as two of her children sat in the vehicle.
Shoi Delfin-Caballes exited her Honda SUV at the Circle K/Shell location in Palm Harbor, Florida, on December 22 last year to pump gas, leaving her 11-year-old and 14-year-old in the car.
Another customer accidentally backed into a gas pump, knocking it over onto Caballes and pinning her against her own vehicle.
Florida Highway Patrol officials told local NBC affiliate WESH2 that “the exposed gasoline erupted into flames.”
Caballes‘ two children escaped the car after it caught fire, and ran to grab fire extinguishers to try and put out the flames. However, the heavy smoke and dangerous flames proved too difficult to extinguish.
A panhandler, identified as Jared Pierson, across the street from the gas station rushed over with a friend when they saw the children attempting to put out the fire with an extinguisher and led them away because they feared the outlet was going to explode, WFLA reported.
“Apparently she was pinned against the gas tank – the gas pump – and her vehicle,” he said. “By the time I was crossing the street, it was all a giant fireball. All I could do was pull the kids away and we all had to go across the way. Because I thought the gas station was gonna go up in flames.”
It wasn’t until Pierson sat Delfin-Caballes’ children near his belongings that he learned that their mother was trapped in the blaze. He and his friend got near the vehicle but were unable to locate Delfin-Caballes.
Shoi Caballes’ five children are a range of ages, with the youngest in elementary school and the eldest in college.
Friends and neighbors have characterized the family as a pillar of the community.
“Anyone in the East Lake and surrounding areas who has met or knows this family through sports, church or any avenue would all say how amazingly special they truly are,” wrote Zack Roper, a member of the East Lake High School Baseball program who coached the family’s oldest son, in a GoFundMe set up for the family.
“It is still very easy for me to say today, there will not be a player or family I loved and admired more than the Caballes family,” Roper added.
The GoFundMe has raised over $156,000 exceeding its $150,000 goal.
Watch the video report below for more details: