Narrow escape as car explodes

By Brenton Garen

A GAILES woman had only seconds to spare before her 1998 Commodore Sedan exploded into a ball of fire at a service station yesterday morning.

Witness Craig Denman was parked outside the Dinmore 7-Eleven on his way to work when the fire broke out at 7.38am.

The Camira man said he saw smoke rise from the woman's car bonnet as she approached the traffic lights on the corner of River and Brisbane roads on her way into Ipswich.

"She went through the red light, pulled straight into the servo and that's where it happened," Mr Denman said.

"She walked inside and told the bloke there was smoke coming out of the dash.

"Two seconds later it exploded and there were flames pouring out of the car."

The Queensland Fire and Rescue Service extinguished the fire at 7.48am.

Mr Denman said the woman appeared upset.

"She was very lucky to get out of there in time," he said.

"She wouldn't have been alive otherwise.

"It was pretty hot. The windows were exploding."

A police spokesman said no onlookers were injured.

"It was a mechanical fault. It just caught alight," the spokesman said.

7-Eleven Dinmore owner Satnam Singh reopened most of his fuel pumps just after 9am.

MR SINGH said it was lucky the entire fuel station did not go up in flames.

"We are really lucky," Mr Singh said.

"A fire like that next to the bowsers isn't safe.

"The fire went really, really high and out of control. I called the police and fire brigade."

He was the only staff member working at the time.

"I was at the counter serving a customer when the lady pulled in," Mr Singh said.

"She came and said 'It looks like it heated up or something'.

"I said I would have a look at it to give her a hand after I served the customers. It was a very busy time.

"On our way (to the car) smoke started pouring out. I just ran into the store and shut down all the fuel pumps.

"There were two cars in the car park and another two at the bowsers on the far end."

Mr Singh has owned the service station for the past two years and had never seen anything like it before.

"It's was unusual. It's the first and hopefully the last time it happens," he said.

RACQ general manager of external relations Gary Fites said car fires were not as common as they used to be.

"They were more likely to occur in the days when all cars had carburettors," Mr Fites said.

"Now with modern fuel-injected cars it's much rarer these days for cars to catch fire.

"But nevertheless, it points to the need for maintaining your car."

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