A ROMSEY woman has spoken of her horror after escaping from a burning car with her baby and dog.

Sara-Jane Reilly was driving along Bypass Road, Romsey, with her 14-month-old girl when her car stopped and smoke started "blowing out of the bonnet".

Now the 36-year-old has thanked the man and woman who helped her family in their hour of need after her Peugeot 208 HDI was engulfed in flames.

Sara-Jane, who lives in Sandy Lane, said: "I was driving back from my parents at 6.15pm when my engine light comes on and then my cars rolled to a halt.

"Smoke started blowing out of the car bonnet, so I jumped out of the car and grabbed my daughter, Lily, from the back seat.

"It was pitch black, no cars were stopping and I started to panic because within a couple of minutes flames were coming out of the car roof.

"I feared for my daughter's life because I have seen cars exploded before and my Chihuahua, Merlin, was terrified too.

"I was worried if I let him out he would have been run over."

She added: "It seemed like an eternity, but a man called Dave Barker stopped and he tried to get my dog out of the car; Merlin was frightened and tried to bite him."

"I passed Lily to Dave and managed to get Merlin out of the car. I was in a state of shock.

"It was terrifying and Dave gave me his phone to ring the emergency services, as we realised we were putting ourselves in danger.

"It was very surreal and I am lucky because cars can auto-lock in fires, so I was fortunate I could get out quickly as my car burnt out in 15 minutes."

Sara-Jane, who is a laboratory assistant for the NHS, stressed how a woman called Debbie Allen helped the family and stopped behind Dave to drive them to the Three Tuns to get away from the fire.

She added: "I want to thank both Dave and Debbie for stopping to help me and I am very grateful."

When asked about how the car fire has affected her, Sara-Jane said: "My car was worth £5,000, which will be covered by my insurance, but I am going to have to pay £350 in excess and it has made me feel nervous about driving, because the car was only five-years-old.

"I have also written a letter to the managing director of Peugeot, because I would not expect a car to go up in flames."

Sara-Jane said she is currently being helped by her partner, Philip Moore, who owns his own car.

A spokesperson from Hampshire Fire and Rescue said: "We got a phone call at 6.13pm from a woman who said her car was on fire.

"One crew from Totton attended the scene and the car was 100 percent destroyed by the fire.

"Police were also called to manage traffic as the car was on an unlit section of the road."

The stop message came in at 7.04pm.

Hampshire police has been contacted for comment.

The car burst into flames on Saturday, February 22.