A driver had a lucky escape after her Citroen Nemo caught fire, seemingly caused by a bird’s nest within the engine bay, destroying the vehicle.
The woman, who managed to escape with her three-year-old son from the burning vehicle just seconds before it was engulfed by flames, is urging drivers to check under the bonnet for nesting birds before setting off.
Lynn Johnson, from East Burrafirth, was driving on the A971 just north of Weisdale, Shetland Islands last Thursday (28 March) when the engine of her Citroen Nemo van started cutting out and eventually stopped altogether.
When she noticed smoke coming from the engine compartment, she was initially reluctant to take her son out of the car on to a busy stretch of road, but she quickly realised that she had no other option.
Might not have got out in time
“The smoke was coming from under the bonnet very quickly and probably because of the strong wind the whole van quickly caught fire,” Johnson said.
“I had just time to get me and my child out of the vehicle and I didn’t have time to think about collecting anything else that was in the van.
“It was difficult enough to get one child out a car seat in a hurry, I dread to think if you were one of the mums who have a whole car full of kids strapped in.
“I do genuinely believe that someone faced with such a situation would not have managed to get all out in time.”
No indication of fault
She said there had been no indications that something was wrong and that the vehicle was about to burst into flames.
Johnson said the van had been completely destroyed before two fire engines from Lerwick arrived at the scene.
Bird’s nest in engine bay
They doused the few remaining flames, secured the scene and told her that judging by the way the fire developed, its most likely cause was a bird’s nest in the engine bay.
“The only advice that I have to people is to check under the bonnet regularly,” she said.
Fire control said emergency services had been called to the scene on Thursday at around 1.30pm.
The van was described as “undriveable” and had to be taken away by a recovery truck.
Should garages and motorists regularly check for birds’ nests or other oddities under the bonnet? Have you ever encountered anything like this? Let us know in the comments