‘Hero’ passer-by saved Pulborough woman from car fire


An anonymous ‘hero’ pulled to safety a Pulborough woman from a burning car after a crash around midnight in West Chiltington last week.

The man was said to have ‘dragged’ the 52-year-old female from her green VW Polo after it was involved in a collision with a tree and caught fire on Common Hill, Friday (July 4), 12.03am.

Storrington fire retainers attended the scene with Sussex Police to extinguish the blaze and tend to the sole driver who is believed to have suffered a concussion, neck strain and leg injury - she was taken to Worthing Hospital.

Storrington fire department watch manager, Martin McKilligin, said she was ‘lucky’ to be alive thanks to her rescuer.

“When we arrived the lady had already come out of the car. A driver-by managed to see the accident and dragged her out of the car. He’s a hero,” he said.

“It was a bad impact. The ruptured fuel line got into the hot engine.

“Thankfully he managed to pull the lady out. She was in a confused state and had a cut to her leg. She didn’t realise she’d been in an accident - she’s a very lucky lady.”

West Sussex Fire and Rescue Service released a statement that said two breathing apparatuses were used and two hoses to extinguish the fire.

Mr McKilligin continued: “It was a stroke of luck that he was there. We were there in eight minutes and within that time the car had erupted into flames.

“It shows you just how lucky she was and within that small amount of time in which it happened.”

The car had suffered a ‘large indentation’ at the front of the vehicle by the engine, according to Mr McKilligin.

“The tree had gone right into the engine area and then the engine and fuel had mixed.

“Cars don’t normally just catch fire like that,” he added.

No other person or vehicle was involved in the collision, according to Sussex Police.

Mr McKilligin said that ‘other people had come out of their houses after hearing the bang’, but the emergency services do not have a name for the ‘hero’ who pulled the driver to safety.

l If you are the anonymous hero who saved the woman’s life or you know who it was, get in touch with the County Times so we can tell the full story.