A BRAVE rescuer pulled a driver from the burning wreckage of his car after it came off the road and damaged two gas mains.

Ringwood Road was closed overnight and residents in four homes had to be evacuated following the collision near the junction with Lake Road, Verwood, on Friday night.

Resident Ben Worth was watching television in his living room when he heard a “huge skidding sound and a car hitting something”.

He ran outside and discovered “debris and bricks everywhere”.

The car had left Ringwood Road at the junction of Noon Hill Road before crashing through resident Ron Chambers’ front garden wall and his neighbour’s fence and coming to a stop in their driveway.

One of the damaged gas mains ignited, causing a huge fire.

Before the flames had completely engulfed the car, however, Mr Worth rushed to pull the 40-year-old driver out of the vehicle.

“The car was tipped over onto its passenger side, and there was a small flame at the back end. I knew I had to get whoever was inside out quickly,” he said.

“I was trying to break the window and it wasn’t breaking, and that was when the first explosion happened.

“My neighbour’s daughter gave me something to break the window. I managed to break most of the driver’s window, and I saw him inside. By this point, smoke was filling the car and the flames were right up at the back. At the time I thought the diesel tank had ignited, and I wasn’t aware it was the gas main that was burning, and that’s why there were lots of explosions.

“I managed to pull the guy out of the car. I honestly didn’t think I was going to be able to do it. He fell on the ground and said, ‘My dog, my dog’. You couldn’t see in the car because there were just flames.

“I smashed the front windscreen as I could see the dog, and another guy leaned in and pulled it out by its collar.

About 30 seconds later the whole inside of the car was engulfed in flames. As we were pulling the man and his dog out, the car was exploding and rocking over every time.”

A short while later, police, fire crews and paramedics arrived.

While some of the residents had to be evacuated, others were told to stay indoors and keep their windows and doors shut.

Firefighters remained on standby until around 7.30am the next day. The driver was not seriously hurt and was arrested on suspicion of driving offences.

The dog was uninjured.

Ron Chambers and his family were among those who had to be evacuated. Other residents were told to stay indoors and keep their windows and doors closed.

Mr Chambers told the Journal’s sister paper the Daily Echo he was only able to return home at around 6am the next day. The road remained closed until later that morning, and engineers from SGN were on scene repairing the gas mains.

“The flames were about 20-30ft high. It was frightening at the time,” he said.

Mr Worth added: “It was only the next morning I realised what could have happened. If the gas had exploded properly everyone around would have been dead. I’m glad everyone’s okay.”