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Sunday May 3rd, 2015 6:57PM

Arrest made in Habersham County gas pump fire

By Derreck Booth Anchor/reporter
GAINESVILLE - The man named in an arrest warrant issued by the Georgia Insurance and Safety Fire Commissioner on Friday is in custody at the Habersham County jail as of Saturday morning.

According to commissioner Ralph Hudgens, the warrant was issued for Austin Dawkins, 37, of Clarkesville. Dawkins is charged with reckless conduct in connection with the Oct. 16 incident that severely injured his wife.

State fire officials allege Dawkins ignited a cigarette lighter while he was fueling his pickup truck at the Royal Food Store on Grant Street. The action caused a fuel vapor explosion.

"[Surveillance] video shows he struck a cigarette lighter down by the tank," said Hudgens. "Flames flew up and hit his wife."

Dawkins' wife, Jessica Dawkins, 30, suffered second- and third-degree burns to her legs, arms, back and head. She was flown to Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta and has since been released, according to Hudgens' office.

Austin Dawkins suffered minor injuries to his hands.

The maximum penalty for the reckless conduct charge is a year in prison and up to a $1,000 fine.

The Clarkesville Fire Department and Habersham County Sheriff's Office worked the case with Hudgens' office.

The case has been turned over to the district attorney's office.
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