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Car inferno was heading for horrified motorists'

PUBLISHED: 11:55 10 June 2010 | UPDATED: 15:43 16 August 2010

MOTORISTS watched in horror as a car engulfed in flames rolled backwards towards queuing traffic on a motorway. Last Saturday at about 5pm, the female driver of a Mazda RX-8 had to abandon the car between junctions four and five of the clockwise carriage

MOTORISTS watched in horror as a car engulfed in flames rolled backwards towards queuing traffic on a motorway.

Last Saturday at about 5pm, the female driver of a Mazda RX-8 had to abandon the car between junctions four and five of the clockwise carriageway of the M25, near Orpington, after it caught fire. No one was injured in the blaze.

Officers from the Highways Agency stopped traffic on the busy motorway about 250 yards away from the flaming vehicle, when the car then began to roll backwards.

Kentish Times photographer Andy Barnes, who took this dramatic picture, was driving home at the time.

He said: "I suddenly noticed this car on the hard shoulder, totally engulfed in flames, with plumes of smoke coming from it.

"The Highways Agency stopped my van and I was right at the head of the queue of traffic, right on the front row.

Mr Barnes said as people watched on, the flaming car slowly started rolling backwards, heading straight for the queuing traffic.

He added: "I don't know whether the fire had reached the handbrake and burned it through, but the car started to roll backwards.

"We were all panicking, going 'Oh My God' and thinking about getting out of there.

"Luckily, it started to roll across the carriage way, and headed for the hard shoulder, then hit the crash barrier.

"It wasn't long after that when the fire engines arrived and put it out."

Fire crews from Orpington and Sevenoaks had extinguished the flames by 5.30pm, staying at

the scene for another 15 minutes to make the scene safe. The road was finally reopened to traffic at 5.50pm.

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