A BRAVE resident pushed a car to safety just before it exploded into flames on a driveway.

Neighbours watched on in horror as the purple car spontaneously combusted in Ravenscourt Drive, Vange, yesterday morning.

The resident heard screaming from the owner of the vehicle outside, before dashing out to help.

He reached inside the burning vehicle where he is believed to have released the handbrake, before pushing the car out into the middle of the residential road, away from nearby houses and flats.

There, flames burst from the bonnet before quickly engulfing the vehicle. Residents dialled 999, sending police and firefighters racing to the scene.

One neighbour, 50, said: “I thought a bomb had gone off. I was sitting in my flat and the engine just blew up with a huge bang. I really couldn’t believe it.

Thankfully, no one was sat in it at the time.”

Resident Glynne Pugh, 69, was at his computer when his wife rushed into the room to tell of the drama.

He said: “She said there was a huge car fire. I didn’t believe it.

“The man was so brave to go and help, and so were the firefighters.

They were brilliant.

“There was smoke and fire everywhere.

“It just blew up. I’m just happy no one was hurt.”

Basildon firefighters rushed to the scene at about 10am to fight the fire. They had dealt with the situation by 10.30am.

A spokesman said: “A neighbour helped by getting the car into the middle of the road and off the drive. He’s a local hero.”

He added the fire was not being treated as suspicious and is thought to have started because of engine failure.

Police stayed at the scene into the early afternoon to block off the end of the road so the car could be removed.