Trapped inside a burning car

PUBLISHED: 15:22 17 May 2013 | UPDATED: 15:30 17 May 2013

[insert caption] Picture courtesy of James Matthews.

[insert caption] Picture courtesy of James Matthews.

Archant

A YOUNG driver feels lucky to be alive after a car she had owned for less than a day suddenly burst into a fireball in Sidmouth – trapping her inside as it burned.

Panicking Lauren Zajac, 20, desperately tried to smash a window to escape the Vauxhall Tigra when smoke and flames shut down its engine and locked the doors. She eventually managed to start the blazing car and leapt to safety as it rolled along the road - then watched in disbelief as it ‘blew up’ just seconds later.

“It was a nightmare,” said Lauren, who was on her first trip in the sporty, second-hand vehicle.

“I’m grateful to still be around. I definitely had a lucky escape.”

Lauren said she suffered burns to her leg and also lost £1,400 worth of belongings, including her phone in the blaze.

“I came down to see friends and family and my car blew up - it was pretty nuts,” she said.

“I was driving into Sidmouth and the car just set on fire. I went to slow down, but the alarm system went off and it shut down and locked me in.

“I was trapped in a burning car. I tried to smash the window, but it was really difficult and I was panicking. It was scary.

“I managed to start the car and jumped out while it was still moving – it was a bit like 007!

“The whole engine was on fire. I literally had seconds before it blew up.”

Lauren ran to a nearby friend’s house for help and firefighters promptly arrived on the scene on the A3052, near Burscombe Lane, and tackled flames after a passer-by dialled 999.

“It was completely burnt out. There were no windows or tyres left,” said Lauren of the wreckage.

The Londoner, who grew up in East Devon, had bought the car in the capital just hours before setting off on a trip to see family and friends in the area.

She said there were tell-tale signs the vehicle could be faulty during the trip and now suspects it was leaking petrol and oil. “It didn’t look like there was anything wrong with it when I bought it.”

The incident took place at around 10.20pm Wednesday, May 8.

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