Women shaken as 4WD explodes and burns in front of them
TWO Grafton women are shaken after watching a Sydney family escape from their four-wheel drive before it burst into flame and exploded.
Rosemary Sloan and Kath McCabe were towing their caravan back to Grafton from Queensland about 3pm yesterday when a four-wheel passed them heading to Grafton on the Casino Rd.
"As it passed we saw a little puff of white smoke come from it," Ms Sloan said.
"By the time we caught up, the car was pulled off onto the side of the road and there were flames coming from the engine and one of they tyres was burning."
The occupants of the car, a Sydney family of three were scrambling to remove valuables from the car.
"When we pulled up they were getting their teenage son out of the back seat, where he had been asleep," Ms Sloan said.
The two women pulled a fire extinguisher from their caravan and tried to help control the fire, but it was too late.
"They couldn't get the bonnet open and the flames got bigger and bigger," she said.
Ms Sloan said as the fire took hold in the car it was rocked by four or five explosions.
"There were really big flames shooting up and a column of thick, black smoke."
She said the driver of the car told her the fire began without warning.
"He said they were driving along normally when there was a little backfire and smoke started coming from the engine," she said.
"He said they got most of their valuable out of the car and no-one was injured."
As the fire and explosions continued, the two women took on traffic control duties directing people to safety.
"The flames came out set grass on the side of the road alight as well," Ms Sloan said.
"When the fire brigade came they had to put that out as well."
She said the vehicle burned fiercely for about 30 minutes, leaving a thick, black mat of molten plastic on the ground.
"I just feel so sorry for them, the poor buggers," she said.