'The kids were screaming in panic': Family had lucky escape after car went up in flames

'The kids were screaming in panic': Family had lucky escape after car went up in flames
Pictures: Sharon Byrne

A young family had a narrow escape when their car went up in flames on the M3 motorway last weekend.

The Byrne family are now urging motorists to "pull in and get out immediately" if they see any smoke coming from their car at all.

The three adults and two children were driving from Kells, Co Meath to Dublin when dad Stephen, 48, noticed smoke in his rearview mirror and pulled onto the hard shoulder to investigate.

It was only then, that Stephen saw that the bonnet was on fire and flames were engulfing the underside of the 08 Kia Rio rapidly.

His wife Sharon, their two kids Brandon, 11, and Katie, 8, and aunt Michelle Kelly fled the car and ran up the motorway to safety just moments before the car turned into an inferno.

The family are now counting their blessings and urging other motorists to be mindful of what can happen when driving.

They are also encouraging others to check their insurance details after they discovered their policy didn't cover all the car contents that they lost.

"It was last Saturday evening at 7pm and we were on our way to Dublin to our parents house to spend the weekend," said Sharon.

"We were near Skryne (between Navan and Dunshaughlin) when Stephen noticed smoke in his rear view mirror and pulled in.

"He got out and saw flames all underneath the car and shouted at us all to get out. He whispered to me in urgency that he thought the car would blow.

The kids were screaming in panic and we just grabbed them and kept going up the hard shoulder to safety. All that was in my head was to get as far away and as quickly as possible.

"My son had left his Nintendo Switch in the car but we knew it was too dangerous to chance going back for it.

"Within minutes, we heard a few bangs and the car was engulfed and completely gutted.

"An ambulance arrived on the scene behind us and in fairness blocked the lane to oncoming traffic until the fire services arrived.

"The fire services had to travel to the next junction to cross over and come back to us as there was no direct access to us across that area of the motorway.

Stephen, Sharon and their children Katie and Brandon
Stephen, Sharon and their children Katie and Brandon

"We had left about €1,000 worth of stuff in the car because we got out in such a hurry but our insurance only covers €150.

"We wouldn't normally have that much but we had packed the car because we were going away for the weekend.

"We don't mind because they can all be easily replaced and we are blessed none of us were hurt but we didn't realise the cover on our insurance policy until then. One to watch out for to all.

"My legs were like jelly for a few days, especially thinking about what could have happened if we had travelled on even a few minutes more.

"We've so much to be thankful of but we'd just like to warn others that if they see smoke at all coming from their cars - pull in and get out."


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