Workmen on the moment they pulled a pensioner from her burning car

WORKMEN who went “above and beyond” have spoken about the moment they pulled a pensioner out from her burning car before it burst into flames.

Matthew Roberts, who works for Arlesey-based insulation firm Zero Carbon UK Group, was driving home to Letchworth GC from north London with colleagues Dean Brown and Callum Murray-Smith when he saw sparks and smoke pouring from the underbelly of the car in front.

Mr Roberts, who lives in Wissen Drive, got out of his van, ran to the Volvo Saloon and banged on the windows to warn the pensioner driving it that her car was on fire.

“I was screaming at her that her car was on fire but I think she was in shock because she sat there motionless,” said the 31-year-old who was in Highgate when the incident happened last Tuesday having spent the day insulating homes in high-rise buildings for Camden Council.

“I got her seatbelt off and pulled her out as there were already flames licking at my legs. They were getting worse and worse.”


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With the help of his next door neighbour Mr Brown and Mr Murray-Smith, from Hitchin, Mr Roberts managed to pull the 72-year-old woman to the safety of the side of the road.

But a crowd who had gathered said they thought there was another person in the car.

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Despite flames licking the sides, Mr Roberts ran back to the burning vehicle to double check no one else was inside. Moments later it exploded into flames.

He added: “As soon as I came away it became engulfed in flames. Glass was popping everywhere, the diesel was running down the hill and thick smoke was coming out of the car. It smelt like burning plastic.

“I wasn’t really thinking at the time as soon as I saw the fire I just got out and ran to help. I was on autopilot.

“Afterwards I was completely shocked. I’ve never seen anything like that in my life.”

Mr Brown, 24, said the 72-year-old driver, who has not been named, is lucky to be alive.

“When the massive flames engulfed the whole thing I thought, Jesus”, he said.

“But it would have been much worse if the car had been petrol. It would have exploded earlier and we might have still been there. I was just happy the woman was unscathed.”

Paul Dowling, director at Zero Carbon in Stotfold Road, said: “I’m extremely proud of what they did. They put their own lives at risk to save someone else and you couldn’t ask for anything more. They’re hard working guys anyway but obviously they’ve gone above and beyond on this occasion.”

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