CCTV captures the moment a man jumps into his flaming van in Southend and drives it away to stop the fire spreading

Jimmy Burns

Jimmy Burns

First published in News by , Senior reporter

A DESPERATE man leapt into his flaming van and drove it off down the street to stop the fire spreading.

Jimmy Burns miraculously escaped unhurt despite climbing into the vehicle which was almost engulfed in flames and driving it off down Stornoway Road, Southend.

CCTV footage shows two people walking past the van and stopping behind the van - out of sight of the camera. They walk away just before the van erupts into flames before Mr Burns woke up to find the van ablaze.

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Mr Burns, who runs security firm Beewise in Sutton Road, said he woke up at around 3.45am on Sunday to find the van ablaze.

He said got in the van and drove it away - thinking that would be the best way to put the fire out.

Mr Burns, 39, said: “My wife woke up because she saw a big flash. She jumped up and looked out of the window and woke me up.

“It wasn’t just a little bit - the whole van was alight. I just ran outside and jumped in.

“I was driving it down the road and there were flames coming out the bumpers, all over it to be honest.

“You could feel the heat and there was thick smoke coming into the van. I think the flames were out by the time I got near the White Horse Pub on Southchurch Road.

“If it was going to get worse I would have pulled over on Southchurch Road and got out.”

His wife Mel Burns, 37, said: “I was so shocked. I didn’t know what was happening at first, our bedroom was lit up like it was day time so I woke up Jimmy and we went outside.

“I didn’t know he was going to drive off in it, I thought it was just about to blow up. But knowing Jim, it didn’t really surprise me – he thought that was the best way to blow the flames out and they did go out.”

Mr Burns, who escaped unhurt, said: “The fire brigade said I was lucky and told me I shouldn’t have done it.

“Thinking back about it maybe I shouldn’t have done it, but what do you do when something like that happens?

“If I’d have left it the whole van would have just gone up and it would have spread to other cars. I managed to save my van and other people’s cars.”

He added that he’s baffled as to why he was targeted but is hoping a public appeal can help catch the culprits.

He also said he is upgrading the CCTV and security lights near his home as a result of the incident.

Echo: Scorched - the ground where the van was parked

A FIRE safety expert has condemned Mr Burns’ actions, saying it was the wrong thing to do in the situation.

Divisional Officer Neil Fenwick, from Essex County Fire and Rescue, said: “It is completely irresponsible to drive a vehicle which is on fire.

“No one should even consider getting into a van or car which is alight let alone starting the engine and driving it.

“When faced with a vehicle fire people should stay a safe distance away, dial 999 and wait for our properly trained and equipped crews to deal with the incident rather than endangering themselves and others like this.”

A police spokeswoman confirmed they were investigating the arson. She said: “Police are investigating a van fire which happened in Stornoway Road. The white Vauxhall Astra van was damaged.

“Anyone with information is asked to call Essex Police on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.”

Comments (14)

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6:29am Tue 29 Apr 14

pendulum says...

Fair enough! Easy for the fire brigade to criticise after the fact, but what he did seems to have worked out OK and he was working off adrenalin of course.
Fair enough! Easy for the fire brigade to criticise after the fact, but what he did seems to have worked out OK and he was working off adrenalin of course. pendulum
  • Score: 14

6:30am Tue 29 Apr 14

pendulum says...

Does the fire officer have anything to say about how irresponsible the arsonists were, or does he just wish to attack the victim?
Does the fire officer have anything to say about how irresponsible the arsonists were, or does he just wish to attack the victim? pendulum
  • Score: 26

6:46am Tue 29 Apr 14

sesibollox says...

Jimmy Burns... says it all
Jimmy Burns... says it all sesibollox
  • Score: 11

7:02am Tue 29 Apr 14

whateverhappened says...

Nice fella jimmy.. remember the van is hs work van, no van no work, trying to do something is better than waiting and watching your livley hood go up in smoke
Nice fella jimmy.. remember the van is hs work van, no van no work, trying to do something is better than waiting and watching your livley hood go up in smoke whateverhappened
  • Score: 21

7:31am Tue 29 Apr 14

beejiu says...

pendulum wrote:
Does the fire officer have anything to say about how irresponsible the arsonists were, or does he just wish to attack the victim?
Well, that's more the police's job. The fire brigade is only really concerned about people's safety. Let's not try to portray this man as heroic. It was an act of absolute stupidity. I'm sure he recognises that himself (if he doesn't, he needs his heads screwed on). It's an example of what not to do when your van catches fire.
[quote][p][bold]pendulum[/bold] wrote: Does the fire officer have anything to say about how irresponsible the arsonists were, or does he just wish to attack the victim?[/p][/quote]Well, that's more the police's job. The fire brigade is only really concerned about people's safety. Let's not try to portray this man as heroic. It was an act of absolute stupidity. I'm sure he recognises that himself (if he doesn't, he needs his heads screwed on). It's an example of what not to do when your van catches fire. beejiu
  • Score: -10

7:57am Tue 29 Apr 14

pembury53 says...

not another parking dispute......
not another parking dispute...... pembury53
  • Score: 1

9:35am Tue 29 Apr 14

DogsMessInLeigh says...

beejiu wrote:
pendulum wrote:
Does the fire officer have anything to say about how irresponsible the arsonists were, or does he just wish to attack the victim?
Well, that's more the police's job. The fire brigade is only really concerned about people's safety. Let's not try to portray this man as heroic. It was an act of absolute stupidity. I'm sure he recognises that himself (if he doesn't, he needs his heads screwed on). It's an example of what not to do when your van catches fire.
well maybe some of use might have done the same or something similar IF it had just happened, but remember he got up and went out the house and did it, those extra minutes did make a differance, stupid or not just a spur of the moment thing and you don't think straight adrenaline pumping and all that, plus i imagine the Van is Diesel so far less flammable than a Petrol tank.
Agree with him he should get far better Cams seeing as its his thing, those are not great, but you can just see 2 people fiddling with his motor just before, and why is the Cam wobbling.?
[quote][p][bold]beejiu[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]pendulum[/bold] wrote: Does the fire officer have anything to say about how irresponsible the arsonists were, or does he just wish to attack the victim?[/p][/quote]Well, that's more the police's job. The fire brigade is only really concerned about people's safety. Let's not try to portray this man as heroic. It was an act of absolute stupidity. I'm sure he recognises that himself (if he doesn't, he needs his heads screwed on). It's an example of what not to do when your van catches fire.[/p][/quote]well maybe some of use might have done the same or something similar IF it had just happened, but remember he got up and went out the house and did it, those extra minutes did make a differance, stupid or not just a spur of the moment thing and you don't think straight adrenaline pumping and all that, plus i imagine the Van is Diesel so far less flammable than a Petrol tank. Agree with him he should get far better Cams seeing as its his thing, those are not great, but you can just see 2 people fiddling with his motor just before, and why is the Cam wobbling.? DogsMessInLeigh
  • Score: 3

9:42am Tue 29 Apr 14

LinfordsLunchbox says...

pendulum wrote:
Does the fire officer have anything to say about how irresponsible the arsonists were, or does he just wish to attack the victim?
I hardly think suggesting not jumping into a flaming van constitutes "attacking the victim"
[quote][p][bold]pendulum[/bold] wrote: Does the fire officer have anything to say about how irresponsible the arsonists were, or does he just wish to attack the victim?[/p][/quote]I hardly think suggesting not jumping into a flaming van constitutes "attacking the victim" LinfordsLunchbox
  • Score: 5

10:13am Tue 29 Apr 14

sesibollox says...

Jimmy, your a bloody idiot, could have killed your self, as well as others.
Jimmy, your a bloody idiot, could have killed your self, as well as others. sesibollox
  • Score: -9

10:13am Tue 29 Apr 14

Thecountrysgonetopot! says...

DogsMessInLeigh wrote:
beejiu wrote:
pendulum wrote: Does the fire officer have anything to say about how irresponsible the arsonists were, or does he just wish to attack the victim?
Well, that's more the police's job. The fire brigade is only really concerned about people's safety. Let's not try to portray this man as heroic. It was an act of absolute stupidity. I'm sure he recognises that himself (if he doesn't, he needs his heads screwed on). It's an example of what not to do when your van catches fire.
well maybe some of use might have done the same or something similar IF it had just happened, but remember he got up and went out the house and did it, those extra minutes did make a differance, stupid or not just a spur of the moment thing and you don't think straight adrenaline pumping and all that, plus i imagine the Van is Diesel so far less flammable than a Petrol tank. Agree with him he should get far better Cams seeing as its his thing, those are not great, but you can just see 2 people fiddling with his motor just before, and why is the Cam wobbling.?
I was wondering why the cmera was wobbiling but if you take a closer look someone has filmed this off of a screen that was playing it hence the reason for the wobble
[quote][p][bold]DogsMessInLeigh[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]beejiu[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]pendulum[/bold] wrote: Does the fire officer have anything to say about how irresponsible the arsonists were, or does he just wish to attack the victim?[/p][/quote]Well, that's more the police's job. The fire brigade is only really concerned about people's safety. Let's not try to portray this man as heroic. It was an act of absolute stupidity. I'm sure he recognises that himself (if he doesn't, he needs his heads screwed on). It's an example of what not to do when your van catches fire.[/p][/quote]well maybe some of use might have done the same or something similar IF it had just happened, but remember he got up and went out the house and did it, those extra minutes did make a differance, stupid or not just a spur of the moment thing and you don't think straight adrenaline pumping and all that, plus i imagine the Van is Diesel so far less flammable than a Petrol tank. Agree with him he should get far better Cams seeing as its his thing, those are not great, but you can just see 2 people fiddling with his motor just before, and why is the Cam wobbling.?[/p][/quote]I was wondering why the cmera was wobbiling but if you take a closer look someone has filmed this off of a screen that was playing it hence the reason for the wobble Thecountrysgonetopot!
  • Score: 4

11:21am Tue 29 Apr 14

boo beckett says...

There are those who do, and those who don't. You never see a story in the news about someone who didn't do anything. Hats off for going out there and having the nuts to do it.
There are those who do, and those who don't. You never see a story in the news about someone who didn't do anything. Hats off for going out there and having the nuts to do it. boo beckett
  • Score: 11

11:34am Tue 29 Apr 14

DogsMessInLeigh says...

sounds like the Fire chief gave him a Roasting.
sounds like the Fire chief gave him a Roasting. DogsMessInLeigh
  • Score: 1

6:32pm Tue 29 Apr 14

ChampKind says...

sesibollox wrote:
Jimmy, your a bloody idiot, could have killed your self, as well as others.
I'm with you sesibollox. It may be his livelihood, but it would be easier to hire a van, than for his wife to arrange a funeral.
[quote][p][bold]sesibollox[/bold] wrote: Jimmy, your a bloody idiot, could have killed your self, as well as others.[/p][/quote]I'm with you sesibollox. It may be his livelihood, but it would be easier to hire a van, than for his wife to arrange a funeral. ChampKind
  • Score: 2

8:35pm Wed 30 Apr 14

tttutor says...

An appropriate name 'Burns'
An appropriate name 'Burns' tttutor
  • Score: 0

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