Four staff have been hurt by a mini fireball at an operator-run BP filling station at Spring Hill in Birmingham, according to local press reports. The fireball was caused by a fan heater in the shop.

West Midlands Fire Service were called to the incident and Dave James, station commander at Handsworth, said: “It was an electric fan heater underneath the counter which has been knocked and it’s heated up a gas cylinder which is used to fill up lighters. The cylinder has gone ‘pop’.

“It’s moved some bits and pieces and the staff have bent down to have a look and another one has gone off resulting in a very, very small fireball which has given some people in the shop flash burns. The flame was not there for more than half a second.

He said the fireball would have been no longer than a metre. Firefighters used the garage’s CCTV to investigate the cause of the incident.

Crews from Handsworth and Ladywood responded along with a fire service response vehicle.

A West Midlands Ambulance Service spokeswoman said: “Crews arrived on scene to find four people who had sustained burns following a fire within the shop area of the garage.

“One man was treated for burns to his hands and face. The man was treated by ambulance crews and his burns were dressed at the scene before he was conveyed to a specialist unit at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham.

“A woman, was treated for superficial burns to her arm and conveyed to City Hospital for further assessment and treatment.Two further men were treated for superficial facial burns and conveyed together within the third ambulance to City Hospital.”