Car in flames traps pensioners in their home

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Residents have told of their terror after being trapped in their flats when a couple’s blazing car rolled into their doorway.

Neighbours banged on pensioners Laurie and David Thorpe’s door as the couple’s Rover vehicle, which was parked outside the apartments in Halifax, was suddenly engulfed in flames.

Laurie Thorpe in the spot where her car was on fire outside her apartment in Claremount, Halifax.

Laurie Thorpe in the spot where her car was on fire outside her apartment in Claremount, Halifax.

But as the couple and other neighbours in the flats dashed outside, the car rolled down the sloping yard towards the panicked onlookers who were forced to retreat back into the communal area during the drama, in the early hours of the morning.

As the car blazed at the front door of the flats at Greetland Moor View, Claremount Road, a resident managed to capture the terrifying moment on camera - despite fearing for her life.

Speaking about the ordeal, the car’s owner Mrs Thorpe, 66, said: “All of a sudden the burning car came towards us so we rushed back indoors. It stopped at the front door.

“We were trapped inside - it was so frightening. There’s no exit at the back of the property and my 77-year-old husband uses walking sticks and our next door neighbours have small children.

“It was about half past three in the morning when our neighbour was pounding on our door.

“I rushed out to see my car in a ball of flames.”

The silver Rover 25 had been left parked in its bay, about five yards from the communal entrance, at 5.30pm the previous evening.

Mother of two Saffron Pettinger, 22, who lives in the adjacent ground floor apartment to the Thorpes’, said: “We were woken by the car alarm. After seeing the car ablaze at the front door we thought that the only way to get the children out would be to lower them from the balcony. It was terrifying.”

Mrs Thorpe said: “The heat was unbelievable. The back end of the car melted onto the manhole; there was molten glass - three of the windows had melted and one had smashed. The car was roaring in flames and there were explosions.

“We were petrified that the outdoor gas mains would explode in the heat.”

Another neighbour, who lives opposite the flats in Claremount Road, was also awoken by the commotion.

She said as explosions rang out she took a photo of the flames against the night sky which she emailed to the Courier.

A Halifax fire crew arrived at the scene at 3.40am on Tuesday to deal with the blaze. Firefighters took 45 minutes to put out the flames. Nobody was hurt.

Mrs Thorpe said: “I only bought the car eight months ago; it was a good little runner. The fire can’t have been caused due to an electrical fault as it had been parked up all night. I want to know how the fire started.”

The blaze wrecked the car and damaged the entrance to the flats. Police said they were investigating the cause.