A pregnant mother has told of her horror at the moment flames started leaping from the heater vents on her car as she pulled up to drop her children off at school.
Eight-and-a-half-month pregnant Lancashire mum Hayley Honeysett was preparing to drop her children off at school when her Ford car burst into flames.
Despite fire and smoke pouring from the car’s heaters she bravely steered the people carrier away from pedestrians and other vehicles before rushing her children to safety at 9am yesterday.
Within seconds of the family escaping, the car was consumed by fire. The blaze burned so fiercely the paint was melted off the vehicle.
Hayley, 33, of Sandwell Avenue, Thornton, described the moment she realised her car was on fire as she was approaching Stanah Primary School, where three of her youngsters go to school.
She said: “I was driving up Lambs Road and about to turn into Willowdale.
“All of a sudden there was fire and smoke coming out right in front of me. Within seconds I couldn’t see.
“There were cars either side of me, all I could think was to try to get the car away from them. I had to open the door to see where I was going.
“As soon as I stopped, my teenager daughter, who was sitting next to me, got out and helped get the children out.
“It was very frightening, especially being eight-and-a-half months pregnant.
“All you can think is about making sure everyone is safe.”
Hayley was in the car with eldest daughter Ellie Whittaker, 17 and her three youngest children Evie Honeysett, two, Maddison Honeysett, four, and Rowan Honeysett, seven.
All of them managed to get out of the car safely.
Hayley said: “I got them to the other side of the road, away from the car. The fire happened so quickly.
“A man came over to check I was OK, I was shaken up and he called the fire brigade.
“They said if I hadn’t moved away from the junction the fire might have taken out seven or eight other cars.”
Amazingly, despite the drama, all of Hayley’s youngsters made it to class on time.
She said: “I don’t know how but we even managed to get all of their bags out.
“Ellie took them over to school and I stayed to try to sort things out. They even made it in on time.
“I went over once the fire brigade had finished to check everything was OK.”
Hayley, who is married to finance worker Martin, has no idea what caused the Ford S-Max to catch alight.
She said: “It wasn’t an old car and we’d never had any problems. It was a real shock, there was no suggestion anything was wrong.”
Firefighters from Fleetwood put out the blaze.
A Lancashire Fire and Rescue service spokesman said: “We used two hose reels to put out the fire which we believe started as a result of a fault.
“Hopefully most people will never experience a vehicle fire. Anyone who notices any signs of fire should obviously get out of the car as soon as possible.
“Remove yourself and your passengers to a safe distance.”