Drama as burning car rolls 200m down Whitchurch Road, Harold Hill, towards bus stop

The burning car on Whitchurch Road (photo submitted via e-mail)

The burning car on Whitchurch Road (photo submitted via e-mail) - Credit: Archant

A bus stop full of children had a narrow escape on Thursday after a car caught fire and rolled down Whitchurch Road towards them.

The Audi TT had been parked at the top of the hill as its owner got out to visit a house.

But when the man returned to his car at about 3pm he found it ablaze.

And as its brakes failed, it began to roll down the hill – crossing over into the wrong side of the road and travelling about 200 metres towards about 40 youngsters packed into a bus stop.

Fortunately, it veered off course and ground to a halt on the pavement just 10 metres from the 294 bus stop at the foot of the hill.

Firefighters from Hornchurch Fire Station said by the time the flames were extinguished the car was 100 per cent destroyed.

An investigation is underway into what caused the fire but it is believed to have been accidental.

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Eyewitness Zena Easman said she was surprised how quickly the fire had taken hold.

“I drove past it at the bottom of the hill and you could still tell it was a car at that stage,” she said. “I was in the way so I drove on.

“But two minutes later I turned round and came back to check whether anyone was hurt or needed help. By the time I got back it was a fireball.”

Did you witness the drama? Call the news desk on 020 8477 3903 or e-mail ramzy.alwakeel@archant.co.uk.