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Home Latest Family left homeless after car exploded on front drive and destroyed home

Family left homeless after car exploded on front drive and destroyed home

A mum has compared the moment that her car exploded and engulfed her family home in flames to a “bomb going off”.

Lauren Griffiths’ Range Rover vehicle burst into flames on her front driveway just minutes after a warning light appeared on her dashboard.

The mum-of-two, from Wales, noticed a warning light that said: “Okay to drive with caution, restricted power” on her drive home from work on January 21, North Wales Live reports.

However, five minutes later, the car was smoking and sparking. The mum exited the car to contact RAC.

The vehicle, which was purchased in November 2018, became engulfed in flames before the blaze spread to her property, leaving it destroyed.

The incident happened on Friday January 21

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Ms Griffiths said: “I was about two-thirds along the road and the car just seemed to lose power. A yellow warning message came up on the dashboard just saying: ‘Okay to drive with caution, restricted power’.

“I just limped home as I was only about five minutes away, pulled it onto the drive, and then my son opened the door to greet me and said: ‘There’s all smoke coming off the grille’.”

The 37-year-old mum said the engine of the car wouldn’t turn off and a “banging noise” was coming from the engine.

“My son was screaming at me ‘mum get out of the car, there are blue and white sparks’. I was pressing the start/stop button for the engine but nothing was happening.”

Ms Griffiths phoned RAC for help but around two minutes before the car completely caught fire.

“I opened the front door and it was just as intense heat straight away – the whole front bonnet was just engulfed in flames,” she said.

The fire caused major damage

The fire caused major damage

“We had to be hauled over a fence from our back garden to our neighbors. They had to get out of their house as well because the houses are so close.

“You could just hear popping come out of the car as we’re running through their doors.

“This almighty explosion – it was like a bomb going off.”

Ms Griffiths said shrapnel from the car went flying over houses from the force of the explosion, her house was soon ablaze too. She said her three-storey house has been “completely gutted”.

“It’s completely destroyed my house inside – nothing is salvageable. Everything is either burnt, melted or really badly damaged.

“It’s not like it’s just damaged one part of the house – our house is completely gutted.

'This almighty explosion, it was like a bomb going off'

‘This almighty explosion, it was like a bomb going off’

“The neighbors to the right of me their house has also been damaged. And considering we’re not joined – there’s a gap and a fence – that’s how ferocious it was.

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“It took three fire engines the best part of two hours to put the blaze out.”

Despite the damage, Ms Griffiths claimed Land Rover, manufacturer of the Range Rover Velar which costs in excess of £45,000 to buy new, have told her they won’t be investigating the incident directly themselves.

“The dealership in Swansea has been really helpful and have managed to keep me mobile because if it wasn’t for that I couldn’t have got my children to school this week and I would have been really really stuck,” she said.

“Land Rover themselves have been no help – they said they won’t be investigating it and told me that ‘these things happen’. I’m sorry – I just don’t buy that ‘these things happen’, not on a car that’s just turned three with a full-service history.”

It took an extensive operation to bring the blaze under control

It took an extensive operation to bring the blaze under control

A Land Rover spokesman has confirmed the company is aware of the incident, “the cause of which is yet to be determined”, and said the firm was “willing to support an investigation by the insurer – the process for which requires the insurer to investigate first to avoid any adverse effect on Ms Griffiths’ home and vehicle insurance policies”.

Mid and West Wales Fire Service believe the cause of the fire was “accidental” while police have deemed the incident “non-suspicious”.

Ms Griffiths said that all of the services on the vehicle had been done through the Land Rover dealership in Swansea and prior to this she had never had any problems with the car.

“They’ve got the evidence that it has been maintained with them.

“It’s literally just turned three years old. It’s not like it’s a 10-year-old car and they’ve just never seen me again. This is an expensive car. I bought it brand new with them.

The fire also caused significant damage to a neighboring property

The fire also caused significant damage to a neighboring property

“Cars don’t just blow up for no reason, not when you’ve maintained it as I have.”

Ms Griffiths said she thinks Land Rover should recall the vehicles following the incident. “I’ve done what I should do, my end of the finance contract, which is to look after the car and maintain it. I have a service plan with Land Rover – I even have the MOT there which I don’t have to do with them.”

She said she and her boys lost everything in their home and in two weeks when Land Rover ask for the replacement vehicle to be returned they will also be without a car.

“Everything’s gone. They [Land Rover] said to me as a goodwill gesture they are willing to keep me in the car I am in for two weeks. After that, I will be careless.

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“I’m staying with my partner at the minute and so is my mum – we’re sofa surfing at the minute. We’re in dire straits with this really. All we had were the clothes we were wearing.

The aftermath of the fire

The aftermath of the fire

“It’s completely unreal. I’m really trying to get my head around it but it’s so hard.

“I’m not going to accept that ‘that just happens’ and people are left in that position.

“If it had just been the car I could think: ‘it’s just a hunk of metal and the insurance will cover it’ but the fact it’s the house and everything we have ever owned as well – I have lost everything.”

Samantha Keynes, her husband Jason, and their two young children Daisy, two, and Max, one, lived next door to the property and were alerted to what was going on due to the frantic efforts of their neighbors.

Mrs Keynes said: “We became alerted to it by our neighbours. We could hear a commotion – we’d put our two children to bed. Myself and my husband were in our living room and our neighbors across the road were waving frantically through the blinds.

“We could see an orange glow and my husband said: ‘There is a fire next door’ and it was only when we looked a little bit closer we realized there was a car fire.

“We had to run out as quickly as we could and grab our children in the process. We had no shoes on, no coats, and were completely vulnerable to the elements. We had to get out as the car just ignited. By then it was a fireball and small explosions were coming from the vehicle as we were coming out of our front door.

“All we cared about at the time was getting our children to safety – they are very young, aged two and one. Thankfully across the road one of our neighbors took us in and I tried to keep my children calm and close the blinds so they couldn’t see what was going on. We made out like Fireman Sam was coming but they could hear the bangs, which we made out as fireworks.

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“My husband just had to watch as the fire took hold. The flames were so high that it damaged our roof. That’s where we’ve taken the brunt of our damage. With the way that the wind was, it blew the flames into our property. It was very frightening – I cannot even begin to put it into words. We were helpless apart from waiting for the emergency services. When they came they were amazing.”

The Keynes family has been left counting the cost of damage to several areas of their home including to their fence, back door, carpet and flooring, windows, heating and waste pipes. Damage has also been caused to their roof where soot and smoke have entered, contaminating valuable sentimental items belonging to their children.

“You can’t replace their wristbands from when they were in hospital and their first-ever bedding,” Mrs Keynes said.

“We’re having to live with my parents at the moment. We have no idea when we’ll be home. There’s an estimate of a month but who knows because there are so many delays with Covid.

“We’re coping the best that we can in the circumstances. I think we’re still in shock. I haven’t had a good night’s sleep since it happened – I’m coping on two or three hours, give or take. Everything is running around your head all of the time. My children are incredibly traumatized. My son hasn’t gone to sleep without crying since and he was a strong sleeper beforehand.

“It’s been a nightmare from start to finish, very upsetting, but what we’re going through pales into comparison with my neighbour. She’s lost everything she owned.”

A Land Rover spokesman said: “Customer safety is our highest priority. We are aware of the incident and we sympathize with Ms Griffiths’ experience, the cause of which is yet to be determined. We have duly offered mobility to the customer and are willing to support an investigation by the insurer – the process for which requires the insurer to investigate first to avoid any adverse effect on Ms Griffiths’ home and vehicle insurance policies.”

A spokesman for Mid and West Wales Fire Service said: “At 7.43 pm on Friday, January 21, joint fire control received the first call to a vehicle fire in the Llwyngwern area of ​​Hendy, Swansea, and crews from Carmarthen, Tumble, and Pontarddulais were mobilized to the incident.

“On attendance crews were confronted with a car fire that had spread to a semi-detached property and was well alight. Firefighters extinguished the fire using four breathing apparatus, two hose reel jets, two thermal imaging cameras, and a short extension ladder.

“The fire had destroyed the vehicle and had caused fire and smoke damage throughout the property. Neighboring properties had also suffered heat damage from the fire.

“The police and Western Power were also in attendance. The fire service ventilated the property, using a positive pressure ventilation fan, and left the incident at 9.58 pm.

“The cause of the fire is believed to be accidental.”

A spokeswoman for Dyfed-Powys Police added: “Police were called at 8.05 pm on January 21 to a report of a vehicle fire having spread to a property in Llwyngwern area of ​​Hendy.

“The incident is not being treated as suspicious.

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