A dad-of-one has told how his BMW 6 Series erupted in a fireball on a motorway leaving him trapped inside – after the locks jammed.
Andrew Lindsay, 45, desperately tried to escape the burning motor when it burst into flames while he was travelling at 70mph on the M6 Toll Road.
He managed to shoulder barge the driver’s door open and leap from the car moments before the engine exploded and melted the tyres to the road.
Smoke in the cabin
Andrew, a copy editor from Whittington, Staffs., was on his way to see family in North Wales when the blaze broke out on June 1.
He said: “I was driving on the M6 Northbound doing around 70mph when my car went from driving normally to losing power, smoke coming into the cabin, and flames coming out of the engine. I didn’t even have any brakes.
“It went from working normally to an inferno in 30 seconds, I barely got out alive.
“There had been no sign of a problem before suddenly the entire car failed.
“I had to think very quickly ‘How can I stop this car?’
“I had only just left home and I was coming up to a service station and I knew it was on a steep hill.
“So I turned off in the hope I could lose some speed and I put my handbrake on and it did stop.
“When I tried to get out all the power in the car had gone haywire, and I couldn’t open the door.
“So I had to put in a shoulder barge to it and it fortunately opened.
“The car was completely on fire – it wasn’t just a bit of smoke.
“It just melted into the road that’s how hot it was. It was a massive, massive fire.”
Massively traumatic experience
Andrew, who bought the 11-year-old car second hand for £9,000 six months earlier, was rushed to hospital by ambulance where he was treated for smoke inhalation.
He said: “I haven’t had a wink of sleep because I keep having nightmares about being stuck in a burning car.
“It was a massively traumatic experience.”
Andrew’s terrifying ordeal comes after BMW recalled 294,000 cars in the UK in May due to fears a wiring harness connecting to the heater posed a fire risk.
Every 3 Series saloon car built between December 2004 and July 2011 was at risk – meaning Andrew’s 6 Series model shouldn’t have been affected.
He said: “I have been aware of the number of vehicles that have been recalled by BMW – but these were the ‘three’ series, and mine is a ‘six.’
“But the reason for the recall, a fire risk, was exactly what happened to my car.
“I just got the inspector’s report from my insurance company and it says that the fire started in the wiring.
“I got in contact with BMW who carried out an inspection, but say the damage was too great to ascertain what caused it, so it’s not their fault.
“I think other BMW drivers need to be warned. This should not be happening.”
A BMW spokesperson said: “We were obviously very concerned to hear about Mr Lindsay’s frightening experience.
“Our inspection of his car was inconclusive as to the cause because of the extent of the damage. It was not part of any current recall action.
“We would like to have conducted a more detailed examination but unfortunately the car has now been crushed by the insurer.”