Woman rescued from blazing car

By James HoreA HEROIC off-duty firefighter who saved a teenager's life when he pulled her from a blazing car has described the dramatic rescue. Ken Cronin was at home in Burrs Road, Clacton, when his wife, Dawn, told him there had been a crash nearby.

By James Hore

A HEROIC off-duty firefighter who saved a teenager's life when he pulled her from a blazing car has described the dramatic rescue.

Ken Cronin was at home in Burrs Road, Clacton, when his wife, Dawn, told him there had been a crash nearby.

The 36-year-old, who is a firefighter in Hornchurch, rushed to his car and drove a short distance to the scene of the accident, where a blue Ford Fiesta had been involved in a collision with a grey Vauxhall Vectra.


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When Mr Cronin arrived, a crowd of people around the Fiesta told him there was a woman trapped inside the car, which had crashed into a fence and was on fire.

The father-of-two was unable to open the doors to get in, so he instead jumped onto the bonnet and used his arms to smash the broken windscreen aside as the flames got closer.

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Mr Cronin said: “She had been knocked into the passenger's side of the car and I reached in and shook her, but she did not wake up.

“By then the fire and flames were at the back of the seat, so I tried to pull her forward and I pulled half of her body out, but she was trapped by her feet - one was under the pedals and the other under the seat.”

After managing to free her feet, the youngster was carried free by some of the other people at the scene and, although she was breathing, she started to convulse.

Mr Cronin then worked with firefighters from Clacton to get oxygen to the teenager, who was taken to Colchester General Hospital suffering from serious head injuries before being transferred to a London hospital.

The teenager's condition was described last night as serious, but stable, while her passenger, also 17, was in a stable condition in Colchester General Hospital.

Mr Cronin, who attended the Canary Wharf bomb and the IRA attack on the Baltic Exchange in London, as well as hundreds of horrific car crashes, said he felt this rescue stood out.

“It has not really sunk in, I have been running it through my mind and I am not trying to big myself up, but because I had no-one else with me and did not have back up, I think it was the most courageous,” he said.

“I don't know if that girl would have died, but I do know that when I looked at the car it was all burnt and she definitely would have been burned.”

The accident happened at about 9.30pm on Friday and three people in the Vauxhall Vectra were also taken to Colchester General Hospital with minor injuries.

Anyone with information should contact Stanway traffic police on 01026 762512.

james.hore@eadt.co.uk

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