A mum has become the latest victim of the Vauxhall Zafira combustion crisis – snatching her baby from her smoking car seconds before it burst into flames.
Shocked Lisa Taperek, 32, had just pulled up outside her mother’s house when smoke began billowing from the engine bay.
She popped the hood but quickly realised there was no time to spare and snatched 10-month-old son Kinsley from his car seat.
By the time they reached the safety of the house the whole car went up in flames.
Lisa reckons Kinsley was just seconds away from being overcome by smoke and is furious that Vauxhall is not doing more to protect drivers.
She said: “I can’t believe how quickly it went up in flames – it was no more than 20 seconds after I got Kinsley out.
“If I had left him in there a little bit longer, the smoke was pouring in really fast, he would have died from the smoke alone. It doesn’t bear thinking about.
“It’s absolutely disgusting to think Vauxhall is letting people drive these cars. If he had died who would have held their hands up?”
Single mum Lisa, of Royal Wootton Bassett, Wilts., bought the 2007 model second-hand this year and was oblivious to the recent spate of similar incidents.
More than 150 owners of the second-generation Zafira have reported their cars spontaneously combusting, prompting a BBC Watchdog probe.
But Lisa didn’t see the coverage and did not notice anything was wrong when she pulled up on the driveway of mum Caroline’s home in Wootton Bassett on Tuesday morning.
She said: “I was faffing about in my bag when mum walked down the drive to the car, opened up the door and said ‘why is the car smoking?’ I hadn’t even noticed it.
“I got out and popped the bonnet, and by this time the smoke was just pouring in and Mum said ‘just get the baby out’.
“We got out on to the driveway and no sooner had we walked into the house to call the fire brigade it was up in flames.”
Firemen attended the scene on Queen’s Road at around 10.20am for an hour.
Luckily Kinsley escaped unharmed but his new Ferrari car seat, Lisa’s sat nav and the leather seats were all burnt out.
Mum-of-four Lisa says Vauxhall should do more to make customers aware of the danger.
“I have been completely oblivious to it, everyone has asked me if I had seen it on Watchdog and that it has been all over the news, but I hadn’t,” she said.
“It’s not enough for them to say it’s been on Watchdog, more needs to be done to make people aware. They’re not recalling them and they didn’t give me any compensation whatsoever.
“At the time the heater was just on level one, to clear the windscreen, and we only drove around the corner. I have had no other trouble with the car at all.
“When I spoke to the recovery team they asked if there was anything I wanted to get out of it before it was taken away, but there was just nothing left, it’s just a shell.”
A spokesman for Vauxhall confirmed an investigation into a potential fault with the heating and ventilation systems of the Zafira model continues.
“While the number of incidents is very low in proportion to the number of vehicles on the road, we take this issue very seriously and will take further action.”
All Zafira ‘B’ owners have been offered a free safety inspection in light of the recent fires.
Lisa said her friend took her Zafira in for a check at a nearby Vauxhall garage yesterday and has been advised not to use the heater system other than to clear the windscreen.
A group on Facebook called ‘Vauxhall Zafira car fires’ now has more than 11,000 members.
BBC Watchdog also ran an investigation into the matter after a group of mums from the south west joined forces to highlight their ordeals.
Owners of the current generation Zafira are not thought to be affected by the problem.
Other recent cases of combusting Zafiras include:
* Sue Freemantle, 37, from Ivybridge, Devon was in her 2007 Zafira with three of her children and her cousin’s child in September when black smoke flooded the car and it went up in flames
* Claire Wheatley, 36, from Plymouth, Devon was driving with her husband in June when they had to pull into a Tesco car park and jump out of their 2007 Zafira as it filled with black smoke.
* Jade Hellewell, 26, from Preston, Lancs had just got out of her 2013 Zafira when it exploded with her husband and three children in it
* Rebecca Moore, 30, had just dropped her daughter off at school when her Vauxhall Zafira burst into flames on 23 October.
* Jo Darke, was collecting her son from a school disco in Plymouth, Devon in October 2013 when her 2006 Zafira exploded
* Tia Hansford, from Wiltshire, says her 2010 Zafira went up in flames outside a school she works at in July
* Suzanne Nunn, 33, from Yorkshire saw her 2010 Zafira go up in flames as she prepared to take her children to work in January