Great-grandmother’s car explosion shock

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A GREAT grandmother has spoken of her horror as she was woken by a car exploding into flames beneath her bedroom window in a suspected arson attack.

Patricia Laws, 72, was asleep in bed when she was startled by a loud bang outside her terraced home in Mentieth Close, Lambton at about 3am yesterday.

The scene of a fire in Mentieth Close, Lambton, Washington.

The scene of a fire in Mentieth Close, Lambton, Washington.

The horrified pensioner was home alone as her husband Arthur, 72, a retired painter and decorator, was in hospital, when a suspected stolen grey Mercedes E Class erupted in flames.

“I heard this great big bang and I got up,” Mrs Laws told the Echo. “That must have been when the petrol tank went up. I could see flames reflecting through my front bedroom. I thought my bedroom was on fire. I worried about the windows melting. I could feel the heat in my bedroom.”

Mrs Laws, who has five children, 15 grandchildren and 13 great-grandchildren, said the blaze was so intense that it spread to a van parked across the road.

Crews from Washington fire station were called to the scene at 3.20am. When they arrived, the fire had spread to several bins, near to Mrs Laws’s home, as well as the wheel of the red Ford Transit Van.

Firefighters spent 45 minutes dealing with the blaze which destroyed the car. Another resident in the street said the vehicle had been parked there since Thursday evening.

Watch manager Gary Carabine said: “It was a fully developed car fire when we arrived. Given that the car was pinched, we think the fire was deliberate.”

A Northumbria Police spokesman said: “At 7.26am, police received a report of a car on fire in Lambton. Inquiries are ongoing.”