A journalist and photographer who regularly attends dramatic scenes found himself on the other side of the fence when his car burst into flames and exploded on the A24 near Southwater.
Eddie Mitchell, 47, who covers Sussex for the BBC, national and local newspapers, was driving home from Crawley on Saturday (January 25) when smoke began to spew from the car he uses to transport expensive equipment.
He told the County Times: “I saw a little wisp of smoke coming from the dashboard, it smelt of very faint burning.”
Mr Mitchell pulled over onto a grass verge by the Southwater roundbaout.
He continued: “The next thing I knew there was more smoke.
“I wound down my window and it pelted in.”
A former fire investigator was passing by at the time and offered the photographer help.
Mr Mitchell quickly removed equipment from the car before it began to explode.
“There was a glow behind the steering wheel and within four minutes the car was engulfed in flames.
“If I was driving it I would have been crispy bacon.
“I didn’t know they went up that quickly.”
A farmer arrived on the scene with a fire extinguisher.
Two units from West Sussex Fire and Rescue Service attended and crews spent 15 minutes battling the flames.
Mr Mitchell said he was panicking and disregarded the photo opportunity in front of him until the retired investigator prompted it.
The photographer added: “Being on the other side was a bit poacher-turned-gamekeeper.
“The fire brigade did a great job, and everyone stopped to assist.
“Fire control was brilliant at keeping me cool.”