A British Airways pilot had to make a desperate escape after his Mercedes car suddenly burst into flames while he was driving home.
John Pearce, 56, was driving back to his home in the village of Tarrant Monkton, near Blandford, Dorset and was initially oblivious to the fire that erupted underneath his white Mercedes C350 AMG estate car.
The pilot ignored a passing driver who tried to warn him of the fire and only stopped when a police car pulled in behind him and flashed its lights.
British airways pilot John Pearce had to evacuate his Mercedes after it suddenly burst into flames while he driving back to his home in Dorset
The police officer got out and told Mr Pearce that his car was on fire which prompted the pilot to jump out of the vehicle in shock.
The 56-year-old was stunned to see black smoke billowing from under the car which was engulfed in flames within minutes.
He could only stand back and watch as fire crews arrived to put out the blaze which destroyed his £14,000 car.
The pilot initially didn’t realise that his car was ablaze and only stopped when a police officer signaled and told him: ‘the bottom of your car is on fire’
Mr Pearce said: ‘A policeman pulled out from the police station behind me and started flashing me.
‘I stopped and he came up to the window and said ‘the bottom of your car is on fire’.
‘We both had a look and I said ‘so it is’. There had been no clues or indication that anything was wrong inside the car – I couldn’t smell fire and no warning lights came on.’
It was a lucky escaped for the 56-year-old as, moments after he left the car, it was completey engulfed in flames
His wife Heather, 53, and daughter Hannah, 18, who were away skiing in Filsmoos, Austria, saw the funny side with Hannah joking they couldn’t leave him alone for five days without something happening.
Mr Pearce said: ‘I managed to get out and grabbed my speed camera detector but forgot my wallet.
‘The whole thing went up in about ten minutes. In hindsight I wished I had parked a little further away from the house next to it as the flames were frighteningly close at one point.
‘But it could have been worse – no one was hurt and nothing else caught alight.
Mr Pearce’s wife and daughter are away on holiday and saw the funny side of the incident, with daughter Hannah joking they couldn’t leave him alone for five days without something happening
‘The fire brigade arrived after about 15 minutes and put it out in about three or four minutes but the car was completely destroyed.
‘The insurance company are going to take it away to try to find the cause in case it’s a manufacturing fault by Mercedes but I’ve had the car six years.
‘Luckily as my wife is away I can use her car for now.’
Last year Mercedes recalled 75,000 cars in the UK following reports of fires occurring in certain models.
While one of these models was a C-Class, the problem was associated with cars made between 2015 and 2017, whereas Mr Pearce’s motor was six-years-old.
The terrifying incident happened as Mr Pearce drove back to his home, after visiting his mother.
Emergency services rushed to the scene with police confirming that they had closed the road and also evacuated nearby properties while they fought the blaze
A Dorset Police spokesman confirmed that they closed the road while the fire was dealt with and evacuated some residential properties for half an hour ‘due to the large flames and smoke drifting towards the properties’.
He confirmed there was also damage to some nearby BT phone boxes.
A Dorset and Wiltshire Fire Service spokesman confirmed the car was ‘completely destroyed by fire’.
The blaze was put out in minutes but Dorset and Wiltshire Fire Service confirmed that the car had been completely destroyed, with Mr Pearce saying his insurance company were investigating