A mother whose Ford burst into flames as she popped into a shop for milk has issued a stark warning - never leave your children behind in the car.
These pictures show the shell of Claire Blackwell’s vehicle which set ablaze as she and her nine-year-old son Oliver shopped in Tesco.
Claire, 44, of Middleton Road, Fulwood, said: “Oliver was at a fun swim so I went to do a bit of shopping at Booths but then when I went to pick him up I realised I’d forgotten to get some milk.
“I stopped off at the Tesco at Longsands and told Oliver, ‘stay in the car while I nip in to Tesco’. He said ‘no I want to come with you’.
“We went in the shop and I couldn’t have been in there for more than two minutes. I picked up the milk and we came back out to the car.
“When we got there I could see smoke coming out from behind the dashboard and I could smell burning plastic - the key wasn’t even in the ignition.”
Claire immediately called the RAC who told her they were sending a recovery vehicle but it would be about an hour.
“The smoke was still coming from behind the dashboard so I opened the door and the passenger door,” said Claire.
“Oliver said he was really cold so I told him to ring my friend, Sharon Tyson, and ask her to pick him up.
“He told her ‘my mum’s car is going to explode’. She thought he was winding her up.”
Claire, a part time accounts assistant, then went in to Tesco to let a staff member know that her car was smoking. However as she and the employee were coming out again the car had caught fire.
She said: “He came out with me and just as we were standing looking at it we saw flames starting. He called 999 for the fire brigade.
“Within minutes the car was engulfed in flames. The fire brigade were there in five minutes. It created quite a stir.
“In no time the whole car was just absolutely gutted. It was a real shock to be honest.
“I could have been driving if I hadn’t forgotten the milk. It was just so quick.
“It was a scary thought that Oliver could have stayed in the car. You just don’t expect anything like that.”
Claire says that firefighters told her that the fire had started because of an electrical fault.
She had only bought the Ford C-Max second hand about 18 months ago.
Since the fire on Wednesday, August 22 Claire has had plenty of time to think about what happened and wants to give a word of caution to other parents who allow their children to stay in the car while they go round the shops.
“Don’t be tempted to listen to your children,” said Claire, who also has another son, Daniel, aged 12. “Make them walk round the shops with you.
“Oliver was quite upset and shaken up about it.
“I won’t ever leave the kids in the car again. I would rather listen to them moaning walking round the shop with me.
“Trying to get the kids to go shopping is really hard work. Kids will say ‘do we have to’ so a lot of kids just stay in the car - so do pets. It’s a scary, scary thought.
“So many people don’t even think about it. You would never think for a minute that your car might set on fire.”