A year after one of Hawke's Bay's most spectacular fires, one of the investigators into the inferno dares not think of the consequences had it happened as little as 15 minutes earlier.
The fire started on a Friday night, on the forecourt of the State Highway 2 BP Bay View in Napier, after a strange set of circumstances.
It happened a year ago on January 15 at 9.23pm.
Firstly, a man whose own vehicle had run out of gas hitched to the BP. Somehow, he filled a "jerry can" and a bucket with petrol. The bucket had no lid.
Wanting a ride back to his vehicle, he attempted to get a lift with strangers in a car parked on the forecourt. He handed the bucket to an intoxicated person in the back seat.
She was one of seven young women who had arrived at the BP in the car. She flicked a cigarette lighter near the bucket of petrol, it ignited and she flung it from the car.
Petrol pumps and two customer vehicles were engulfed in a fireball. Miraculously, everyone in the vicinity escaped unharmed, including the seven young women.
The BP Connect Bay View Service Centre, faced with a wall of flame at the front door, was saved.
It had been the start of another hot and busy midsummer holiday weekend, and Fire and Emergency New Zealand senior adviser risk reduction Bob Palmer says he was told that just 15 minutes earlier almost every one of the forecourt's 16 pump bays had been full.
"That time of the year, cars with kids, mums and dads inside paying for the petrol," he told Hawke's Bay Today. "It's a horror … [it] doesn't bear thinking about what could have happened."
In the aftermath, police charged Auckland man Jonathan Patrick Atkinson and a Napier woman with offences relating to the fire.
Atkinson had been charged with endangering public safety by an act of criminal nuisance, while the woman had been charged with unintentional starting of a fire by a reckless act.
The charges laid by the police were referred to the Crown, but they were withdrawn in Napier District Court on October 6 on the basis of insufficient evidence to support a conviction.
A Hawke's Bay Today Official Information Act request for the police file was turned down "as the making available of the information is likely to prejudice the maintenance of the law, including the prevention, investigation and detection of offences and the right to a fair trial".
A brief summary confirmed the circumstances before the fire.
Palmer says the fireball was what would have been expected as the fire immediately ignited the fumes and fuel residue around the forecourt.
In a bizarre impact of the explosion, which sent flames several metres above the forecourt canopy, ceiling linings collapsed and were left hanging from the canopy's sides, acting as a fire curtain and preventing the fire's spread.
It wasn't the purpose of the linings, but the fire was soon under control with the arrival of the first crew from the Bay View Volunteer Fire Brigade. They had pulled out of the station a few hundred metres away, just four minutes after the alarm was raised.
Apart from short statements, station owner BP hasn't answered media questions.
A statement on the eve of the one-year anniversary said: "Safety is our top priority and team members acted quickly to evacuate the site before calling emergency services, who then managed the situation."
Palmer said he wasn't sure how many staff had been at the station, but they had done "all the right things".
The staff have also not spoken publicly, although Hawke's Bay Today understands at the time they told friends of how the man who had filled the bucket stood near the burning forecourt marvelling and all-but laughing as flames leapt into the air.
Soon afterwards, the women in the car described the incident on social media.
One wrote: "We never told him he could hop in our car!
"I was running in to go [to the] toilet he was at the door waving cash asking for a ride pointing at his petrol which I didn't look at .... I told him we're on those two cars over there go ask them.
"He asked [the] first car they said 'no' then he hopped in back of our second car and placed the bucket on my friends lap! Then boom!"
Another said: "… it was a random man who asked us for a ride, had nothing to do with us."