TWO men who rescued a trapped driver from his burning car were last night hailed as lifesavers.
Father-and-son builders Michael Kennedy Snr and Jnr were driving to work when they saw a 67-year-old’s silver Volkswagen Golf hit a tree and catch fire on the A3400, just outside Chipping Norton on Monday.
With smoke billowing from the bonnet and the driver trapped and drifting in and out of consciousness inside the car, they knew they only had a few moments to act.
They freed the man just before the entire car caught fire.
And yesterday, fire service watch manager David Bray, of the Rewley Road station in Oxford, nominated the pair for a Chief Fire Officer’s Commendation and paid tribute to their bravery.
Mr Kennedy Jnr, 37, from Tring in Hertfordshire, said: “We drove past it and I looked out of the passenger window and noticed there was smoke coming out from the engine of the car and there was someone in there. He was trapped.
“We couldn’t get his door open so we tried to get in on the passenger side. Then the fire came up the front of the window, so we had to try to wind the seat back as far as it would go. My dad was trying to free his legs and feet from the footwell.
“It was getting close – we probably had another minute and that would have been it.
“When we pulled him out we got him about 15 yards up the road and then the car just went up. It was pretty nasty – it didn’t half give us a shock.”
Last night, the motorist was said to be in a serious but stable condition at Oxford’s John Radcliffe Hospital, where he is being treated for suspected neck and back injuries and facial injuries.
Another driver, Matt Hall from Deddington, pulled his car over just in time to see the men carrying the victim from his vehicle.
He said: “The car was well alight. If they hadn’t have got him out he’d have died in a horrific way.
“They deserve a bravery award. They were very calm.”
He added: “It was horrendously icy, I had forgotten to put my hazard lights on and almost went flying as I crossed the road on foot to put them on. It was treacherous.”
Mr Kennedy Snr, 73, of Belhamstead in Hertfordshire, said: “The man was semi-conscious, he was just making noises, he was out of it.
“We weren’t panicking, we were just hoping we would be able to free him before it got too bad.
“I’ve never done anything like that before and I hope I never have to do anything like that again.
“We really hope he’s alright.”
Mr Bray said he hoped that their actions would be recognised, adding: “I have written to the chief fire officer saying that they risked their own lives to save someone else who would have died in an ensuing car fire.”