A South Coast man travelling to Canberra Airport has escpaed injury after his car caught fire on Brown Mountain.
Tura Beach resident, Cato Bailey, was on his way to Canberra Airport to visit friends in Queensland, when he noticed his engine light on, and smoke pouring into the cabin of his 2011 Subaru Outback.
The man exited the car only minutes before the vehicle’s engine burst into flames around 9am today (January 25) on the Snowy Mountains Highway between Steeple Flat and Bemboka, West of Bega.
The 36-year-old told East Coast Radio the car initially lost power, before he noticed a funny smell then smoke in the cabin.
“I pulled over and popped the hood, and the engine was on fire,” Bailey said.
“A couple from Tura Beach were behind me, they saw the whole thing happen and pulled over to help, after having a similar experience themselves they said to me, get anything important and get out,” he continued.
“We called emergency services and there was a potential risk of the fire climbing the embankment and going into the bush.”
A local traffic controller was one of the first on the scene. He cordoned off the area and tried to mitigate the fire before emergency services arrived.
“What started as a small fire in the engine, quickly engulfed the front of the car and the cabin,” Bailey said.
“It looked like a bonfire with lots of smoke billowing out of it, the glass in the windows shattered, and the petrol tank, which I had just filled, when that went, the flames went right up,” he said.
“It didn’t blow up like in the movies but the car is a wreck, but I’m ok and I’m insured and at least it will make for a good story.”
After fire crews extinguished the blaze around 10:30am on Wednesday, Transport for NSW and a tow truck arrived on the scene to remove the vehicle which was left completely burnt out.
Alternating (stop/slow) traffic conditions were in place with motorists advised to reduce speed in the area and allow extra travel time.
The exact reason for the fire has not yet been determined however it did start in the engine bay with fire crews believing mechanical issues were the cause.
Mr Bailey, escaped any injury, and the couple from Tura Beach stuck around to give him a lift to Canberra Airport, so he can still make it to Queensland for Australia Day to visit his friends.
“There’s still a good chance I’ll make it to Townsville for Australia Day, so I’ll see how I go,” Bailey said.
Motorists are being reminded to check their cars (including oil, coolant and other fluids) before setting off on big trips ahead of or during the Australia Day weekend.
Images: Cato Bailey, Live Traffic