Terrifying moment father rescues young children from burning car

Firefighters arrived on scene to secure the car after the quick-thinking cyclists doused the flames,

Firefighters arrived on scene to secure the car after the quick-thinking cyclists doused the flames, Photo courtesy of Ian Bryant. - Credit: Archant

A father has told of the terrifying moments he rushed to rescue his two young children from the back seat of a flaming car.

Ian Bryant, of Carlton Colville, believes the situation would have been a lot worse had it not been for the actions of a group of quick-thinking cyclists who doused the flames with their water bottles.

The 28-year-old had taken his children, Jacob, six, and Tilly, 18-months, to visit their grandmother and stopped at the McDonald's drive-thru in Gillingham for lunch on Saturday.

Mr Bryant parked his Ford Fiesta Zetec in nearby Church Road to enjoy his meal.

It was then he began to notice something was wrong.

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He said: 'There was a funny smell which I initially thought was from the food but when I looked out front I could see what looked like steam coming from the bonnet.

'It quickly became thick black smoke. I got out and opened the bonnet and found the engine engulfed in flames.'

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Mr Bryant describes the minutes that followed as 'pure panic'.

He said: 'I feared it would explode. My first instinct was to get my children, who were strapped in car seats, away from the car.'

The terrified father quickly removed his children and mother from the car and watched on helplessly as the flames grew higher.

He called 999 and waited for assistance.

It was then three cyclists 'all of a sudden appeared from nowhere'.

Mr Bryant said: 'I called at them to be careful as my car was on fire.

'One of them asked if I had anything to put it out and I said I didn't.

'He gathered all their drink bottles and doused the flames before riding off. I didn't even have time to say thank you.'

Mr Bryant added: 'I just want to express my sincere thanks. The fire service believes if they had not helped the car would most likely have been a lot worse.

'It gives you reassurance that at times when you need help people will be there and are willing to do so.

'The cyclist put himself in danger when he didn't need to.'

It is thought the fire was caused by an electrical fault and investigations are ongoing into its source.

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