Torched!

Wow! Someone dumped a car at the back of my house tonight and torched it.

I was working on the laptop when I heard a loud noise outside, clearly close to the house. I work in the cellar and only have a narrow glass brick view to outside. I looked up and saw an orange glow through the glass. I rushed up stairs to see a large fire at the back of the house.

At first glance I thought it was my car! I second later I realised it wasn’t, but that the car that was burning was only feet away from mine.

I grabbed the car keys and dashed out of the house. I managed to dial 999 on my mobile phone whilst opening and getting in to the car. As the emergency service answered the call, I got the car started. At that point two police cars arrived. I tried to explain to the operator, what had happened, that the police were on the scene, at the same time as I tried to move the car away to safety without first reversing into the burning car!

I managed to get the car moved, having put my phone down. I didn’t get to move it far as the fire service had arrived and parked across the road. I got back on the phone and explained to the operator (now inexplicably from the ambulance service) that the police were on the scene and I didn’t need an ambulance.

The firemen were very efficient and had the fire out in less than 5 minutes. I had noticed that all this time there was a cameraman on the scene. At first I assumed he was from the police (he arrived with them), but he explained that he was from the BBC. He was filming for a program that sounded like “Car wars” about car crime in Britain. I gave him a very short interview. I have no idea if or when it will appear on TV.

Having got the OK from one of the firemen to put my car back, he spotted that my number plate on the back of the car had started to melt. We examined the back of the car and apart from a little bubbling on a piece of trim above the number plate, there was no other damage. It looks like I just moved the car in time.

I didn’t have the wherewithal to grab my camera when it all started happening, but I took a couple of picture afterwards.

torched1
This is all that’s left of the car. It looks like it was an old Rover mini metro.

torched2
The bonnet blew open at one point.

torched3
You can see how close it was to the wall at the back of the house. The bush over the wall used to have leaves. They are now all shrivelled and burnt.

torched4
Within an hour, a guy came to tow the burnt shell away.

torched5
More expense on the car! The white on the number plate is not over exposure from the flash, the plastic has turned white and started to bubble!

Update: I should point out that throughout all this Jan, Jamie, and all the neighbours but one slept on peacefully!

10 thoughts on “Torched!

  1. Hi Mike,

    I just followed links, trying to find out more about wifidog and Montréal sans fil (a friend was telling me about it this weekend) and end up seeing what just happened so close to you. I cannot help but wonder if there is a link in real life…

    I’ll have to backtrack, and see if indeed you are at all involved with wifidog or if this is just a coïncidence. But that will be as far as my investigation go, as I have a pile of work waiting for me.

    Glad your car, house, family and self are safe.

    Louise

  2. hey mike,

    tat’s was really an adventure!

    I’m from singapore where cars are horrifyingly expensive. If this happens, we’ll cry like mad! 🙂
    a BMW 316 would cost about SGD$150,000, which is about USD$93,000
    *ouch*

  3. Oh my! You’re just so cool, calm and collected. It’s hard to predict what one would do in that situation, now you know.
    We had policemen at the front and back (standing on our garage and roof) early one morning looking for robbers. The police even came through our house for access to the back garden and then the helicopter arrived. A lot of noise and disturbance to catch the last of the three robbers.
    Our neighours who sleep in the back bedroom knew nothing until they found the ‘booty’ in their green recycling bin and wondered where it had come from.
    Sleep is great when you can not be woken by even a helicopter overhead…
    Lil’ sis. X

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