Family's lucky escape after car goes up in flames on Tyrone trip
A father-of-two is warning parents not to leave children alone in the car after his vehicle burst into flames during a shopping trip in Co Tyrone.
Denis Meehan, his wife and their two little boys, aged six and nine, had been shopping in Dungannon when their Peugeot 307 went on fire on Granville Road.
Mr Meehan described how he was forced to take immediate action after the terrifying incident on Friday.
"After coming off the dual carriageway towards the roundabout, I thought I could smell burning, but my wife thought it was outside," Mr Meehan told the Tyrone Courier.
"I started to slow down when approaching the roundabout and saw smoke starting to rise from the bonnet.
"I immediately braked and the car burst into flames.
"Our two young children were in the back, so we quickly grabbed them and got them out and within seconds you could barely see the car due to the fire and smoke.
"It was just unbelievable."
Mr Meehan (54), from outside Emyvale in Co Monaghan, is now urging parents to consider their children's safety while inside their vehicles. "So many people leave their children in the car to go in and pay for fuel or get groceries," he added. "I would urge people to think again as something like this can happen very suddenly.
"Never leave children alone in the car for a minute."
The family, who are still coming to terms with their narrow escape, got a taxi home after their ordeal.
"I asked someone nearby at Murdock's who very kindly contacted the fire service and emergency services and, thankfully, they arrived within minutes," said Mr Meehan.
"But getting home and smelling the smoke on our clothes etc is when the reality of what had happened really sunk in."
He said his young sons were "a bit shaken" after the incident and he been struggling to sleep.
He also praised the quick-thinking of everyone involved in their shocking ordeal.
"I'm so thankful to the NIFRS, the PSNI and everyone at Murdock Builders Merchants for all their help," he said."Words cannot express out gratitude."
A spokesperson for the NIRFS said that they were contacted shortly after 4.30pm last Friday and that the cause of the fire was accidental.