Stevenage PE teacher’s morning commute to first day of new school year ends in A1(M) fireball

The car burst into flames on the hard shoulder.

The car burst into flames on the hard shoulder. - Credit: Archant

A PE teacher is still recovering from the shock of seeing a car he bought last week go up in flames on Tuesday morning as he headed to work for the first day of the new term.

Firefighters putting out the car on the A1(M).

Firefighters putting out the car on the A1(M). - Credit: Archant

Serdal Yanmaz was driving down the southbound carriageway of the A1(M) after leaving his house in Chells Manor, Stevenage, when his blue Citroen C4 suddenly started slowing down.

The 29-year-old, who works in London, said: “It was the first real trip I took in the car since I bought it in Sheffield. I suddenly heard a thud and it started to slow down.

“It did the same thing when I was driving it down from Sheffield, but then the gas pedal still wouldn’t respond.”

Serdal crossed into the middle lane as the car continued to slow down, and then decided to pull onto the hard shoulder.

The remains of the car after it caught alight.

The remains of the car after it caught alight. - Credit: Archant

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As he did this lots of smoke started coming out of the car’s exhaust.

“By the time I had stopped and got out I saw the flames,” he said.

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“I phoned my dad because he is a cabby and then I realised the car was on fire so I called 999.

“It was so scary to see something you have just bought go up in flames.

“It happened so fast and if I hadn’t have got out so quickly I don’t know what could have happened. I still haven’t got over the shock of it all.”

Serdal bought the car for £3,200 from a dealership in Sheffield on Friday.

He has complained to trading standards and has contacted the company which is working with him to see what went wrong.

Yesterday the A1(M) was shut between Welwyn and Stevenage when a Vauxhall Astra envoy van caught alight on the northbound carriageway at 10.45am. The driver was uninjured and the road was reopened within 30 minutes.

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