A trip to the Musgrave Centre in KwaZulu-Natal turned into a Christmas shopping nightmare for shoppers who were caught in the parking lot after a car caught fire.
It is alleged the fire was caused by an electrical fault.
A shocked Morningside resident, Cherlaine Matthysen, who got caught up in the chaos as she arrived at the Centre moments before the car caught fire, said she arrived in the third-level parking area at about 4.30pm on Monday, Berea Mail reported.
“As I opened my window to get the ticket, I could instantly smell petrol.
“I thought the smell was coming from the car in front of me, as it was an older model car. There were two cars parked on my right-hand side with their hazards on, and as I went around the first car, I just saw a flash of lights. I realised that it was the car right next to me that had ignited.
“I quickly reversed to get to safety. All the cars around me also started to reverse. There were people running and screaming everywhere. It was like a scene from a movie!” she said.
Matthysen said traffic had jammed up behind her and not all drivers realised why cars were reversing out the parking lot.
“Many unknowing drivers were hooting at us and going crazy. Only when the car exploded did everyone start reversing and try get out.”
“The car exploded a second time, and then it went pitch black. I managed to reverse enough to get to the slipway and out the boom gate which had been opened, and everyone was just rushing out. People at the robot were hooting and screaming, as they couldn’t understand why we were all just going through the red robot. It must have lasted three or four minutes, but felt like an eternity,” she added.
While she can now laugh about the incident, Matthysen said one never thought about these things until they happened to them.
Another eyewitness, who washes cars in the third-level parking lot, said the driver of the vehicle, a black Audi, was about to leave, but his car wouldn’t start. They heard him revving the engine and trying to start up when something sparked and the car caught alight.
“The driver managed to get out before the car exploded and burst into flames. The police and firefighters came and everything is fine, today [Tuesday] it has been thoroughly cleaned,” he said.
– Caxton News Service