A MOTORIST had a lucky escape after his car burst into flames when he was driving through Penarth.

Jeff Ibbertson, 43, was on his way home from work in Cardiff when he noticed smoke coming from his BMW X5 when he was at the Baron's Court traffic lights.

He pulled over into Elizabethan Court and within 10 minutes the car, which had only done 55,000 miles, burst into flames.

Mr Ibbertson, who bought the car in May last year, described the fire as “sickening” and said he was lucky to get out in time.

"Before I knew it she was up in flames," he said.

"She was well ablaze before the fire brigade got here.

"She went up in flames within 10 minutes."

He added: "I was lucky I managed to get out in time and noticed the smoke.

"God only knows what would have happened if I hadn't pulled over.”

He added that he thought the cause of the fire, which happened at around 5pm on Thursday night, January 9, was an electrical fault.

His mother Audrey Ibbertson, 77, came to see the car with him the following day on Friday morning.

"I'm just glad he's ok as you can replace a car but you can't replace a life," she said.

"It's absolutely dreadful. I have never seen anything like it.

"It really upset me when I heard about it and I haven't slept all night worrying.”

Residents of Elizabethan Court said they heard nothing at the time and only realised later that night or the following morning.

One resident said: “I was in the house all day and heard nothing.

“I was really shocked to come out and see it there in the morning.”

A South Wales Fire Service spokesman said that they were called at 5.21pm on Thursday and crews from Penarth Fire Station attended the scene.

“On arrival we had one private motor vehicle that was well alight,” he said.

“Crews tackled it with two hose reel jets and breathing apparatus.”

“It was deemed an accidental ignition with cause unknown.”

He added that police also attended the scene as another vehicle had been damaged by the heat and they were unable to determine its owner.

The car was subsequently towed away as it was blocking the entrance to the private car park, while Mr Ibbertson’s car was towed away on Friday afternoon.