A driver had to make an emergency stop on a dual carriageway after her car caught fire on the road.

Two fire crews from Grays and one from Orsett were called to the eastbound carriageway of the A13 between Stifford Interchange and Dock Approach Road at 9pm yesterday after a woman in her thirties called to say her car had caught fire.

The silver Mercedes C230 had been travelling down the A13 when a fire, believed to be an electrical fault, started in the engine compartment and was well alight by the time fire crews arrived and closed two lanes of the carriageway.

Station officer Chris Driscoll said: “The car was well alight by the time we arrived but fortunately there was no-one in the car at the time as the driver, a woman believed to be in her early thirties, was being followed by her partner and was waiting in a safe place off the A13.

“The fire appeared to start in the engine compartment while the driver was driving along the A13. Two firefighters used cutting equipment and breathing apparatus to open the bonnet, as the front of the car had melted, and we closed two lanes to keep them safe.

“We were there about 30 minutes and managed to save some articles inside the vehicle such as a handbag and some electrical equipment.

“The cause of the fire appears to be electrical but, due to the extent of the damage, and investigation is still being carried out.”

Last month, London Road in Leigh was closed by firefighters after a car exploded outside West Leigh infants and junior schools, after the driver of a white BMW reported the car had caught fire while he was driving it.

In September, women from Westbourne Grove, Chalkwell, rallied together to pull an Donald Farmer, 86, from a burning car after the yellow Vauxhall Agila burst into flames outside his home - engulfing a passing silver Mercedes C220 - following a suspected electrical fault.