It took just three minutes for a car to be completely destroyed by fire this morning on Tukara Road, South Penrith.
Shiou-An Zou was driving along The Northern Road when she saw smoke from her engine coming into the car at her glove box and outside through the windshield washing jet.
“I noticed it began to smoke from the air conditioning unit… so I pulled over on Tukara Road only a minute later,” she said.
“There was heaps of smoke, it was really scary.”
She ran out of the car and called emergency services who arrived on scene shortly after, but within two minutes, the engine of the car had been completely engulfed by flames.
“It burst into flames and I was just like, ‘oh my god’,” Ms Zou said.
Her 10-month-old daughter and four-year-old son, whose birthday is today, were luckily not in the car at the time.
“I think if my kids were in the car, I would have gone into a panic,” Ms Zou said.
A kind stranger helped her overcome her fear when the first instinct during the emergency was to run.
“There was a guy who saw the car was smoking and he pulled over and helped me,” she said.
“When I saw the car was starting to smoke, I was already starting to panic.”
Currently recovering from a severe headache from smoke inhalation, Ms Zou was lucky to escape otherwise unharmed.
Every year her car is fully serviced, and whenever there is anything that seems wrong, she takes it to get checked out.
Ms Zou said she recently noticed the car felt “heavy” with some added difficulty turning the wheel and while accelerating, but nothing to indicate something was seriously wrong with the car.
“I had it serviced only two months ago, and it was all good,” she said.
“It just was so fast, it was scary.”
Emily Newton is the Weekender’s police and political reporter. Emily is also the Weekender’s Senior Journalist.