A couple who pulled over when a warning light flashed up their car dashboard escaped death by just 30 seconds – when the vehicle exploded in a FIREBALL.
David Lewis, 48, and Melanie Keeling, 51, assumed it was a minor technical problem when the ‘electrical fault’ light illuminated on their Renault Megane Scenic.
But seconds after stopping in a car park thick black smoke began pouring from the engine and within minutes the car was on fire – sparking an explosion and shattering glass everywhere.
The blaze spread to two nearby parked cars and completely destroyed them, as well as damaging a number of other vehicles.
A six-crew fire engine attended the incident and took an hour to bring the inferno under control.
The couple say they got out of the car just 30 seconds before it exploded and are lucky to be alive.
Melanie, a holistic therapist from Stroud, Glos., said: “It all happened so, so quickly.
“The light flashed up so we went into the nearest car park and luckily there was one space.
“We got out and I called the RAC. I was on the phone to them when I saw thick black smoke and the next thing I knew there were huge flames.
“If we were in that car for another 30 seconds we would have gone up in flames with it.”
Melanie, David and their seven-year-old Jack Russell, Pepsi, had been driving to a fish and chip shop five minutes from their home when the warning light began to flash.
They pulled over in the Church Street car park in Stroud at 7.45pm on July 4.
Melanie and David bought the 2006 Megane from a private dealer just three months before the incident and were told it had been fully serviced.
All they know is that there was an “electrical fault” with the car.
“It is extremely worrying,” said Melanie. “It is unbelievable what happened and in such a short space of time. What was a pleasant evening turned into a nightmare experience.
“We were in complete shock. I was terrified the fire would spread to more vehicles.
“Pepsi handled the situation really well and took it all in her stride.
“We are just grateful we have got our lives. It so easily could have been a completely different story.”
A Renault spokesperson said: “To date, Renault UK has not had any contact from either the customer or the insurance company regarding this incident with a 2004 Renault Scenic.
“Without having seen the car and without an understanding of the vehicle’s condition and service history, we cannot say what may have caused this incident and therefore we cannot comment any further.”