Sami Webster, 30, from Bolton, said she feared for her life as the smoke started to see through the Range Rover’s dashboard, sparking a blaze that forced her to escape through her window
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A mum-of-two has spoken of her horror after being trapped in her blazing car as the doors locked when the engine burst into flames.
Sami Webster, 30, said she feared for her life as the smoke started to seep through the Range Rover’s dashboard.
Sami suffered smoke inhalation and two broken ribs by throwing herself to safety through the window, which she had open because it was a sunny morning.
Sami, of Great Lever, Bolton, said: “It was 11.20 in the morning and I was just two streets away from my home when the smell of smoke hit me.
“At first I thought it was the car in front, but when I reached a red light I saw the smoke coming out of my engine.
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“The Range Rover doors were locked when I set off and the door wouldn’t open. I was terrified and frightened for my life as it happened so fast.
“I was so lucky that it was a sunny day as I managed to scramble out of the window, which I had open, and get to the side of the road. I dialed 999 and asked for the Fire Brigade, but the police turned up and sealed the road.
“I was really shocked and scared. I’ve two children – Harper, aged five, and Kelsey, 11 – and fortunately they were both at school, so they didn’t suffer the trauma as it could have been so much worse.
“It kept flashing into my mind that they could so easily have been in the car and as we have family in Bradford and Thirsk in Yorkshire, so we are forever on the motorway.
“It didn’t bare thinking about if the fire had erupted when I was driving on the motorway with all the windows up and two children in the car.”
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Recounting the day the car went up in flames, she said: “I panicked when I saw the smoke and tried to open the door, but it was jammed shut. I was terrified I would never get out alive.
“Thank God it was a sunny day otherwise I might not have survived. I could so easily have ended up dead.
“I was scared, nervous and my main thought was, who would pick up my kids if I am left here burning alive. I just have to get out now, no matter what – it was such a life or death situation.
“Even the hazard warning lights stopped working and bizarrely the temperature gauge never went up.
“We were lucky as after the police sealed the road, there was a guy from the AA with a recovery truck stuck in traffic and he managed to move my car to a side street.
“I ended up in A&E and got recalled there, due to the stuff on my lungs and I was coughing up black stuff. It was only the day after that they discovered I had at least two broken ribs.”
To add to her woes, Sami, who purchased the vehicle from Prestige Cars in York for £16,696 on finance just four months ago, revealed that her insurers Aviva valued the car at just £14,750 and had offered her £14,050 after her £700 voluntary excess was taken off.
Sami said: ‘So after this nightmare I am landed with a £2,646 debt through no fault of my own.
‘I got a letter from Range Rover at the beginning of April saying the car was scheduled to go in for a recall on April 13th, but they never had a courtesy car available, so the recall appointment was put back until April 28th.
‘This happens just days ahead of that recall, but Range Rover Bolton were quick to tell me that they take no responsibility for the fire.
“The recall was about engine management, steering and emissions.
“And when I called Prestige Cars they simply said that it was nothing to do with them, which was so disappointing, as it’s not like any motorist does anything to set their car on fire.
“I do fear that the doors locking when the car turns into a fireball is a bit of a design error. That’s the awful thing – none of them asked how I was, just insisted it was nothing to do with them.
“I was lucky, but the next person might not be so lucky he next time it happens.
“It hasn’t helped today that the insurance investigation has been completed and due to the extent of the damage they have been unable to establish the cause.
“We know it started on the driver’s side of the engine, as the crack were the flames reached highest was right in front of where my face was.”
A spokesman for manufacturer Land Rover UK said: “Customer safety is our highest priority. We are aware of the incident, and we sympathize with Ms Webster’s experience, the cause of which is yet to be determined.
“This matter is not linked to the recall action mentioned in Ms Webster’s statement. We will support any investigation initiated by the insurer.”
George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.