Lucky escape for family involved in car inferno
KEN and Margaret Watson had just picked up their grandson from school on Tuesday when they spotted smoke rising out of their car's dashboard.
Little did they know that in a matter of moments the car would be engulfed in fire, burning out of control and spewing thick and toxic smoke out onto the street.
But if it wasn't for some quick thinking by Ken and Margaret the incident that shut down J Hickey Av for more than an hour as school children were breaking from school could have been a whole lot worse.
"We picked our grandson up and got to the corner of Laner St and J Hickey Av," Margaret said.
"We saw the smoke coming up out of the vents on the dashboard and I immediately got out of the car and then got my grandson out."
With the smoke in the car continuing to billow Ken stayed cool and drove off on J Hickey Av to get further away from St Johns school and the kids who were going home.
"By the time I pulled over flames were going up the windscreen," Ken said.
As the flames were getting bigger Ken got out and put up the bonnet to see what was going on but there was no sign of fire in the engine.
By the time Margaret and her four-year-old grandson Nate walked to the intersection at Chapman Dr and crossed the road, all she could see "were the flames behind the driving wheel".
It didn't take long for the car to go up and within minutes emergency services were on the scene putting the blaze out and getting the situation under control.
Ken and Margaret considered themselves very lucky to escape without any injuries and wanted to thank everybody involved for helping them out.
In appreciation, the couple wrote in to The Observer to fully express their thanks.
"We are writing today to send our sincere and humble thanks to members of the Qld Fire & Rescue, Qld Ambulance, Qld Police Service and the St Johns Catholic Primary School for their timely, compassionate and professional assistance. On Tuesday after collecting our grandson from prep our car caught fire forcing us to abandon the vehicle before it was engulfed in flames. This distressing time was eased because of the standard of service provided and the sincere compassion given during our time of need. Further thanks must go out to those members of the community who raised the alarm and assisted us during this time. We have lived in Gladstone for over 65 years and it is reassuring to know there is still a selfless sense of community during such times."
Station officer Mark Erridge explains Clinton car blaze: