Essex Police football team in dramatic taxi blaze rescue
- Credit: Archant
Off-duty officers returning from a police football world cup tournament saved a driver and two holidaymakers from a burning taxi – pulling one to safety seconds before an explosion.
The seven-man soccer team from Essex Police were in a minibus travelling back from Stansted Airport when they came across the Mercedes M-Class near Howe Green on an A12 sliproad shortly after 1.20pm on Tuesday.
The driver and two passengers, a couple from the Far East who were just starting a holiday, were standing in the road close to the vehicle which had smoke billowing out from it.
The shorts and flip-flop clad police team got their driver to pull over and block the road and sprang into action.
Pcs James Stewart and Frankie Cole saw the driver attempting to return to the burning vehicle and get back inside, while Sgt Scott Threadgold and Pcs Luke Williams, Alex Franklin, Chris Burch and Paul Hogben made sure the holidaymakers were at a safe distance.
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Pc Stewart said: “As soon as we pulled them all away to a safe distance the car burst into flames and the windows blew out, which would have caused serious injury to anyone nearby.
“Vehicles passing would have also been damaged and drivers injured.”
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The fire was so intense that it caused damage to the road.
Some of the officers ran up the road to stop traffic and clear a path for fire crews and their on-duty colleagues to get through the traffic to the incident.
The scene was cleared by 5.35pm and the driver and his passengers managed to continue their journey using alternative transport.
It was an eventful end to the footballers’ time in Mallorca, where they had spent a week representing England as they competed against police officers and military personnel from across the world.
The officers, who are part of the Essex Police football team, were among 92 teams playing.
Essex beat Holland 3-1 but were knocked out in the second group stage, with Russia coming out as eventual winners of the tournament.
However Essex officers did not go home empty-handed, with Pc Burch dressed as a bumblebee winning the best mascot prize.