QUICK-THINKING police officers helped save a dad and his daughter by the A13 – just moments before the car they were in burst into flames.

PCs Matt Hooper and Yvette Johnson have been hailed heroes for their swift efforts.

The officers were driving along the dual carriageway, between Pitsea and Benfleet, when they saw the car smoking and smouldering on the opposite side.

Sensing danger, the officers turned on their blue lights and swiftly sped to the scene.

The pair grabbed the man and his daughter and moved them away from the car before closing the London-bound section of the road as the car was engulfed in flames.

The officers then made sure no other motorists could get close.

Insp Nia Mellor, from British Transport Police, said: “What a pair of heroes these officers were!

“Without a moment’s hesitation they sprung to action and made sure the occupants and other road users were kept safe at all times.

“I couldn’t be more proud of my two officers.

“Policing the roads isn’t typically what we do, however Wednesday’s events prove that our officers are extremely versatile and are always willing to step up when the public need us.

“This was clearly a frightening experience for the car’s occupants. I hope that we were able to offer some reassurance to them during this scary ordeal.”

Firefighters arrived at the scene just past the Pitsea flyover, at about 7pm on Wednesday, and managed to extinguish the flames within 20 minutes.

Response officers from Basildon Police then controlled the traffic while the fire was dealt with – and the car was eventually removed from the scene.

Both officers work for the British Transport Police, and a spokesman added: “The car was engulfed in flames and the safety of the car occupants and other road users was paramount.

“Both PCs sprung into action, they moved the occupants, a man and his daughter, to safety and put a closure on the busy A13 road.

“The incident was very professionally dealt with.”

At the time of the incident, the BTP Essex Twitter account posted a picture of the blaze with the caption:” Quick thinking by our officers this evening to help the occupants away from this vehicle and shut the London bound A13. We don’t just deal with crime.”

A spokesman for the Essex fire service said the fire started accidentally.

He said: “Firefighters were called to a vehicle fire in the layby of the A13 between Pitsea and the Five Bells at about 7pm.

“The road was temporarily closed so fire crews could deal with the incident.

“The cause of the fire has been recorded as accidental.”