A WOMAN has thanked firefighters for saving her home.

Joy Campbell-Webster’s house, in Monkwick Avenue, Colchester, caught fire when a car on the drive exploded into flames.

The blaze damaged windows and guttering, but crews put out the fire in 30 minutes.

Mrs Campbell-Webster, 87, said: “They came so quickly and saved my home. They were wonderful.

“My neighbours were wonderful.

Everyone wanted to help.”

Mrs Campbell-Webster singled out neighbour Dawn Clarke, who is a paramedic, for coming to her aid.

She added: “Dawn rushed over because she thought I was inside.”

Dawn said: “I heard two giant bangs and went upstairs and saw the flames. I ran around to look for her.

It is great everyone was OK.”

Mrs Campbell-Webster said it was lucky she was not at home and the children next door were out when the blaze happened, on Tuesday at 2.30pm.

She said: “I am very relieved. It was the first time I have had so many lovely firemen at my home and I wasn’t here to see them.

“But I was lucky. I couldn’t have coped with the shock.”

The Ford Fiesta car does not belong to Mrs Campbell-Webster.

She let a neighbour park it there to make it look like there was someone at home.

Robert Humphrey, 71, the owner of the Fiesta, said: “I turn on the engine every couple of days for the battery.

“I had turned it on and was standing beside it while it ticked over.

“Then these flames came out from under the dashboard.

“I stepped back and it exploded.

The car was fully alight by then and the flames were catching the fence and the house.

“I am lucky I wasn’t driving at the time.”

The fire is being treated as accidental and is believed to have been caused by an electrical fault.