One of the things I miss about automobiles before electronic fuel injection was that it was so easy to work on them. If your fuel pump wasn't working, in an emergency you can pour gas directly into the carburetor. This is especially convenient for certain vans as the engine is available right there in the passenger cab. Just remove the cover and away you go.
To get this to work, in addition after removing the engine cover you also need to remove the air intake filter. As you drive along, just keep pouring small amounts of gas into the carburetor. You have to be careful when doing this; if you pour too little the engine will stop. Too much and it will "flood". Either way you'll have to start the car again.
Starter motors used to be made with brushes. Don't know if they're still that way. Thing about brushes is that they give off tiny sparks when the motor operates. It's probably worth mentioning that you should air out the vehicle before starting it. Even in the Seattle area where right now it's kind of cold. Otherwise gasoline vapors could build up, and they could ignite due to starter brush sparks. Or something else maybe.
I should add a link so you can read the details about the three people in the van:http://www.king5.com/news/Victims-in-va ... 97169.html