May 22 2013 Latest news:
Kate Ferguson, Reporter
Thursday, July 12, 2012
Two ‘heroes’ have told of the dramatic moment they braved ferocious flames to pull a pensioner from her burning car without a moment’s thought for their own safety.
Matthew Roberts was driving up Highgate Hill on Tuesday (July, 10) afternoon when he spotted sparks and smoke pouring from the underbelly of the Volvo Saloon in front.
The quick-thinking father of one leapt out of his van, ran up to the car and banged on the windows to warn the pensioner driving it that her car was on fire.
Mr Roberts, who works as an abseiler insulating homes for Camden Council, said: “I was screaming at her that her car was on fire but I think she was in shock because she sat their motionless.
“I got her seatbelt off and pulled her out as there were already flames licking at my legs. They were getting worse and worse.”
With the help of his colleagues Dean Brown and Callum Murray-Smith, Mr Roberts managed to pull the 72 year-old woman to the safety of the side of the road.
But a crowd who had gathered said they thought there was another person in the car.
Despite flames licking the sides, Mr Roberts ran back to the burning vehicle to double check no one else was inside. Moments later it exploded into flames.
“As soon as I came away it became engulfed in flames”, said the 31 year-old.
“Glass was popping everywhere, the diesel was running down the hill and thick smoke was coming out of the car. It smelt like burning plastic.
“I wasn’t really thinking at the time as soon as I saw the fire I just got out and ran to help. I was on autopilot.
“Afterwards I was completely shocked. I’ve never seen anything like that in my life.”
Its 72 year-old driver, who has not been named, is thought to have been on her way to pick up her granddaughter when her car caught alight.
Mr Brown, 24, said the woman as lucky to be alive.
“When the massive flames engulfed the whole thing I thought, Jesus”, he said.
“But it would have been much worse if the car had been petrol. It would have exploded earlier and we might have still been there.
“I was just happy the woman was unscathed.”