Redbridge car explosion: Driver escapes seconds before Toyota blows up into flames ‘as high as a lorry’

Firefighters at the scene after a car exploded in Royston Gardens, Redbridge, last night. Picture: E

Firefighters at the scene after a car exploded in Royston Gardens, Redbridge, last night. Picture: Ellena Cruse - Credit: Archant

A driver managed to leap out of his car with only seconds to spare, before it exploded and was engulfed with flames “as high as a lorry”.

The exploded car in Royston Gardens, Redbridge. Picture: Ellena Cruse

The exploded car in Royston Gardens, Redbridge. Picture: Ellena Cruse - Credit: Archant

Hanif Khan, 36, of Hendon, north London, was on his way home from visiting friends, when he saw plumes of smoke coming out of his blue Toyota Prius at around 10.30pm.

Not able to make it on to the A12 towards Wanstead he pulled in to Royston Garden, near Redbridge Roundabout.

An eye witness, who wished to remain anonymous, said: “I got off the bus and came round the corner to see lots of smoke coming out of his car.

“He was grabbing belongings and I screamed at him to ‘get away get away it is going to blow’.

Firefighters at the scene after a car exploded in Royston Gardens, Redbridge, last night. Picture: E

Firefighters at the scene after a car exploded in Royston Gardens, Redbridge, last night. Picture: Ellena Cruse - Credit: Archant

“He jumped out of the car and a second later the windscreen exploded.”

The onlooker said no one realised how quickly it would “go up” in flames, and the car caught fire in a matter of seconds.

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She was concerned that the explosion might radiate out to residents living in Royston Court, Redbridge, and shouted at people to get away from the windows.

Matthew Armage, 36, of Redbridge, was walking home from work when came across the incident.

“The flames where as high as a lorry,” he said.

“It melted the car like a candle.

“It smelled putrid it made you want to cough.”

Mr Khan, was in a state of shock, and didn’t expect his electric Prius to catch fire.

“It is a new car,” he told the Recorder.

“I was so lucky that I was able to pull over.

“It’s so shocking, a lady called me to get away and I ran out and called the Fire Brigade.”

The few belongings Mr Khan managed to grab were splayed around his car.

The Fire Bridge arrived within minutes and managed to put out the blaze.

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