A COUPLE have spoken out of their shock after their car suddenly burst into flames on their driveway.

Kirstie and Stephen Smith, who live in Castle Carrock, were at home off sick along with their five-year-old daughter last week when the blaze occurred.

Their 10-year-old Hyundai i10 car had been parked on the drive for a week when the fire broke out at about 11am on Monday, March 11, totally destroying the vehicle.

It was Kirstie's husband Stephen who was sat facing the window when he noticed a plume of smoke drifting across the garden.

Stephen, 43, a homemaker said: "I was sat in the living room when I saw some white smoke go past the window, I quickly looked at the front door to see if there was anyone smoking and I couldn't see anyone.

"I said to Kirstie there was smoke coming out from somewhere, and she said it was coming out of [my] bonnet.

"By the time I opened the front door - thinking do I try and pop the bonnet, or do I try and do something - it had turned into flames, and Kirstie immediately called the fire brigade.

"So I dashed out and moved the other car on the driveway to the other side of the road. By the time I had done that, I knew it wasn't safe to come back in the house."

Stephen then phoned Kirstie, who had already left the property from the back door with her daughter and used a gate to go through their next door neighbours garden.

Kirstie, 44, a physiotherapist who works in Carlisle, added: "All of the neighbours were out, so there was nobody to help, but in a circumstance like this, there's nothing really you can do.

"The smoke was really nasty, so I went out in the street and stopped cars from coming down, as I was worried what might happen if the fire were to spread.

"Luckily for my little girl, a friend came who was walking their dog, so she went with them. By the time she got back it was all out."

A neighbour from further down the road, who noticed the smoke, came along to check on the couple.

Kirstie added: "There were high plumes of black smoke, and we were lucky because the day before it was really windy, and had it happened then, it could have taken the house out.

"If we hadn't have seen the flames before it started, we wouldn't have been able to move the other car, which was closer to the house, and would have taken the house out."

A fire engine was Carlisle East fire station swiftly arrived to extinguish the flames.

The heat from the fire also caused some minor damage to the property, melting the gutters and caused a few cracks in the windows.

"It could have been far worse," Kirstie continued.

"I don't like to think what would have happened had it been at night."

The couple have no idea what caused the fire, and added that car had passed a recent MOT in October last year, with no issues reported to the vehicle.

Although reports of various makes and models of cars spontaneously bursting into flames is very rare, the couple want to warn others of the possibility that it could happen.

A spokeswoman from Hyundai said: "Hyundai Motor takes any situation like this extremely seriously and operates a robust process of investigation related to any safety related concern.

"The safety of our customers is paramount."

The spokeswoman added that Hyundai have launched an investigation into the incident.