Car explosion terror for holiday-makers

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HOLIDAYMAKERS have told of the “terrifying” moment they thought they were going to be caught up in an explosion as they ate breakfast.

Kate Fulton and her son Raffles (13) were eating breakfast on Tuesday morning at the Marine Hotel when a car caught fire on Pier Road and this quickly turned into a blaze.

Picture by Chris Dickinson

Picture by Chris Dickinson

They captured the dramatic scene as flames engulfed the car and smoke billowed into the air and towards the Pier Hotel and holiday apartments.

The drama was caught on video by Kate who said it was over within minutes when the fire brigade arrived.

But it wasn’t the first drama of the day for the family from North London who were visiting Whitby for the first time.

They had already been woken at 6.30am with a fire alarm going off at the Marine which was a false alarm.

She told the Whitby Gazette: “It was a total coincidence but we were already dressed and came down for breakfast and smelt something and thought it was the drains.

“We had a look and there was black smoke coming from this car.

“In the reflection of the window we could see fire coming from underneath. We thought there was going to be an explosion, we were absolutely terrified.”

Within minutes the fire brigade were on the scene and had to smash the driver door window to try to open the bonnet but due to the central locking system ended up having to rip the bonnet off the Suzuki SX4 before spraying the engine with water.

Kate added: “The fire brigade were very efficient and cordoned it all off but it felt like you were on the tip of something about to happen. You could properly see the fire - when they came I just thought thanks the heavens.”

A spokesman for Whitby fire station said the car battery completely melted and the vehicle was a write off.

He said: “It was smoking a little bit but by the time we got there it was a good blaze. Once it is confined to the engine you will get a lot of smoke.

“As soon as you put water on it it makes steam so looks a lot worse than it is.

“We had the properties checked out because the window was open at the Pier.”

The car fire started at about 8.45am on Tuesday.

The Gazette understands the owner had gone to get some jump leads after the car failed to start but it had caught fire while he was gone and someone from the Pier pub phoned the fire brigade.