Saved By A Sausage Roll
A quick snack stop saved Helen’s family from certain death…
Driving along the motorway, my family and I belted out the lyrics to Grease the musical, a CD we all loved and always had handy in the car.
We had just been on a great holiday to see my mum, Helen, 60, and we were taking her back with us to get her out of the house for a while.
It was a long drive, and the kids, Jak, three, Zoe, 13, and Max, 14, were all starving and desperate for a snack.
But my husband, Thomas, 50, was keen to push on and get back home as fast as possible.‘but Dad, I’m hungry,’ Jak groaned. ‘I want a Mcdonalds,’ Max said.‘i want a Greggs,’ Zoe cried.
A few miles later Thomas finally gave in.
Talk of sausage rolls had his stomach growling.
‘Oh alright then! I suppose a small stop off can’t hurt!’ he said, flashing me a grin.
A cheer went up in the back of the car, as the kids celebrated their wellearned victory.
We turned off the motorway and into the Southwaite services, a few miles away from Carlisle.
We weren’t wealthy, but we still thought it important to have a nice, reliable car to keep us safe.
Our Vauxhall Zafira was newly bought with some money we got when Thomas’s mum had sadly passed away a few months before.
‘I think you should put the money to good use, something that will help us in our daily life, so that your mum knows she’s always helping us…’ I said soothingly as my husband fretted about what to do with his small inheritance. So after some very careful choosing, we got our car and this was our first road trip with it.
Thomas had been so proud that we had invested in it as it was one of his favourite models and he had excitedly shown pictures of it to all
his mates down the pub!
After finding a place to park, Mum and I took the kids inside to use the toilet.
Thomas was left to go and source some warming pastries.
Sausage rolls were a firm favourite in our family.
‘Don’t forget the ketchup sachets!’ we called after him. Making our way around the services with all the kids was a bit chaotic and I was glad to be back outside in the carpark, greeted by a gust of cool wind. We met Thomas back at the car. ‘What took you so long you slow coaches!’ he said jokingly, handing round the lovely warm rolls.
The smell of pastry and lightly seasoned meat filled the air.
And for a few minutes our kids were quiet as they tucked into their tasty snacks.
We decided we should get back on the road before it got too late. We still had a long way to go and we were all tired. ‘We’ll eat in the car.’ I said. I got Jak strapped into his car seat. It was taking me a while when I heard a huge gasp.
Before I knew what was going on Thomas had shoved me out of the way and was grabbing Jak straight back out of his seat. I was about to ask what the hell was going on but then I saw that the car was filling with a thick black smoke. It was billowing from the air vents and making its way quickly through the vehicle with force.
The first wisps of smoke had been as light as a puff of cigarette smoke and now this in less than a minute.
I just couldn’t get my head around it - the car was in flames!
My mum had jumped out of the car with Max, and Thomas had Jak in his arms.
It was at this moment that I realised that Zoe was in the back of the car not able to get out the back door because of all the luggage.
She would have to hop across the seats to get out but she was fairly wedged in.
The smoke was getting thicker and by now I was starting to panic.
Mum and I both grabbed hold of an arm each and managed to haul Zoe out and away from the vehicle.
‘Are you ok?’ I cried, as she gasped for fresh air.
Nodding, Zoe wrapped her arms around me and I ushered her away from the vehicle.
Making sure we were all out of the car, Thomas told us to run.
Hot footing it away from the smoky car we didn’t look back until at a safe distance.
By the time I turned back to catch a glimpse, our beloved family car was on fire.
I was so scared. Even though we were all safe, the stress levels made me almost feel angry. How had this happened to us?
The red fiery heat was starting to lick around surrounding cars too and onlookers were gathering around.
It was like watching an action film.
I just kept thinking about how lucky we were that we’d stopped for sausage rolls when we did. The thought of being on the busy motorway with all the kids at the back of the car made me feel sick to my stomach. We were so lucky not to have had any serious injuries, or even worse.
The smoke and the flames happened so fast there is no way we would have all been able to get away completely unscathed.
Thomas always tells people now that ‘sausage rolls saved our lives!’ It sounds silly but it is true. But I think we were all in too much shock to finish our pastries.
The car was a total write off and was totally unrecognisable after it had burnt out.
The manufacturer is recalling all similar vehicles, which is a relief. I’d hate another family to go through what we’ve been through, or god forbid, even worse.
We still love sausage rolls, but now we always make sure to stop off for snacks on long journeys, just in case!
THE DECISION THAT SAVED OUR LIVES
The car was a fireball
Destroyed by flames