While grey nomads have learned to expect the unexpected as they travel Australia, a pair of caravanners were still caught up off guard when a 4WD in front of them suddenly burst in to flames and exploded.
Rosemary Sloan and Kath McCabe were towing their caravan back to Grafton in New South Wales after a trip up into Queensland when a four-wheel passed them on the Casino Road.
“As it passed we saw a little puff of white smoke come from it,” Ms Sloan told the Grafton Daily Examiner. “By the time we caught up, the car was pulled off onto the side of the road and there were flames coming from the engine and one of the tyres was burning.”
As the family of three in the burning vehicle scrambled to get free and remove valuables from the car, the two women pulled a fire extinguisher from their caravan and tried to help control the fire … but it was too late.
“They couldn’t get the bonnet open and the flames got bigger and bigger,” Ms Sloan told the Daily Examiner. “There were really big flames shooting up and a column of thick, black smoke.”
There were a series of explosions as the 4WD burned fiercely for about 30 minutes, leaving a thick, black mat of molten plastic on the ground
Ms Sloan said the driver of the car told her the fire began without warning.
“He said they were driving along normally when there was a little backfire and smoke started coming from the engine,” she said. “He said they got most of their valuable out of the car and no-one was injured.”
The fire brigade attended the scene and also had to control a grass fire which had been started by the exploding vehicle.