Man suffers severe burns after being found on fire inside car in Plymouth
A MAN who was engulfed in a “ball of flames” is said to be in a “serious condition” in hospital today.
An heroic bus driver and his passengers used extinguishers and jackets to beat out flames engulfing a man in a car last night, say witnesses.
The incident is now being investigated by police who have confirmed all three emergency services were called to St Levan Road in Keyham, in the shadow of the rail viaduct, at 6pm yesterday.
Officers today said the man was in hospital in a 'serious condition'.
Roland Stone, aged 47, and his father Bob, aged 69, both of St Levan Road, spoke of the shocking scenes as a passing First bus driver pulled over to go to the man's aid.
Bob said: "I came back from the chip shop up the road at 6pm, got to my front door and as I looked up towards the viaduct I saw the truck explode in a ball of flames and a man completely in flames dive out from the driver's side.
"A quick-thinking bus driver pulled over and got out with extinguishers to try and put the man and truck out.
"Passengers were taking off jackets and coats trying to smother flames.
"The flames were shooting up towards the rail line. There was an explosion and all this black smoke billowed up and went over the bridge."
Roland added: "You could see the man on fire who had leapt from the car rolling over and over, in flames. It was awful."
The V-reg Mitsubishi 4life truck was badly damaged by the fire and a recovery lorry took it away late last night.
Police set up a cordon, blocking the road from traffic at the junction of St Levan Road and Keyham Road, while police tape was set up around the scene.
Glass which had blown out from the vehicle was still strewn across the road and the driver's door remained open until the vehicle was taken away.
Witnesses said a woman on board the bus, understood to be a first aider, went to help the man before paramedics from South Western Ambulance Service arrived. The man, understood to be from the area and in his late 30s, was treated at the scene for severe burns before being taken to Derriford Hospital, although it is possible he may need to be transferred to a specialist burns centre.
One witness, who asked not to be named, said he was visiting his girlfriend in St Levan Road when he heard a noise.
They said: "I heard a sound like a bang, like two cars hitting. Then I smelt the petrol and smoke so I went out and saw this car already on fire and I called the fire brigade. The person in the car was out of the vehicle with severe burns."
Witnesses are urged to contact police in connection with the incident on 101 quoting police log number 725 of 5/9/13.