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Previous | Next :: Burning Car : St Helena Highway : Trinidad | January 25, 2009, 12:32 am

Burning Car : St Helena Highway : Trinidad
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I was up late as ever processing and editing the job last night..... then as usual this morning I was up early to drive the 40 miles to the airport.......... the dawn light was just up as I chucked the gear in the trunk of the car........ the drive was uneventful at first apart from one or two drastic potholes...... so I slowed down and concentrated so as not to get a flat........ the BBC world service was playing out of the car radio with a good signal ...... I heard my friend Justin Webb reporting from Washington........... there was no problem with traffic....... a light mist was clearing as the sun started to appear for real........... this felt like a very civilized drive even driving on the left hand side like we do in the UK....... I was tired but happy and relaxed.........I see a sign 4 kms to go to the airport........ then I see black smoke rising dead ahead........ like I have seen hundreds of times from war zones across the world....... a vehicle is burning I know that.

Another half mile down the road there it is. A car on the central reservation is burning. It could be that it pulled up there as it started to overheat......... but there are small bits of debris in the road like it may have crashed........ It is burning intensely the whole of the inside of the car and the engine is burning at full intensity........many other vehicles are stopped. People are gathered about 50 feet back because of the intense heat....... the petrol tank is already burning...... I get out ...... and ask the gathered people is the driver out? Is anyone in the car? No one seems to know....... but one thing is certain its already too late if anyone is inside.

I walk back to the car. Get out the cameras and make some pictures. The police have arrived but cannot approach the burning car because of the intense heat........ they content themselves with directing traffic....... the firebrigade arrive........ they park their truck near to the stricken car and start rapidly dousing the flames with water from their high pressure hoses. They work methodically first the cab then the engine block. Then they force the hood up to hose the engine down fully.

At first the vehicle is hidden in a cloud of white steam....... then it starts to dissipate.

The scorched wreck still steams the crowd starts to approach they look inside the burnt out wreck and turn away. I do not approach. A man is coming away from the wreck clearly shocked............. " Its a woman she is still in the drivers seat "

I do not approach I do not make any more pictures, I walk to my car the acrid familiar smell of the burning car seems to cling to me as I drive on.......a smell I have always associated with death...... the whole atmosphere to the day has changed....... I try not to think of her ........ or her family.

Cheers Jez XXXX

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