THREE travellers have escaped with the clothes on their back and little else after a freak fire engulfed their vehicle on a sightseeing trip to Cooktown.
A suspected electrical fault caused the car to erupt dramatically into smoke and then quickly flames at about 5.30pm on Wednesday.
Alby Lemon, of Cooktown Plumbing and Roofing, was on his way home from Lakeland when he came across the inferno south of the Little Annan Bridge on the Mulligan Highway.
“I must have been about a minute behind them,” the tradie told Cape York Weekly.
“They had all just got out of the car and it was already roaring on fire – it burnt everything they had, old mate had a bag of clothes but everyone else lost their clothes and phones.”
The good Samaritan brought the trio into town and offered them a place to stay and spare clothes.
“They were good people, I said come out and camp and ended up giving them a swag to sleep on at my place,” Alby said.
He said he believed the travellers didn’t have insurance for their Isuzu D-Max, which was removed from the highway by RoadTek.
QFES Cooktown Auxiliary Brigade captain Jason Carroll said firefighters spent about an hour putting out the fire from the dual-cab ute.
“It took a while to put out and then there was the clean up and removal,” he said.
“Cars burn really hot and hard, and take a lot to put out.”
Mr Carroll said the passengers were lucky not to be injured when small camping gas canisters exploded and the car’s diesel tank caught fire.
“When we arrived they said the gas canisters and fuel tank had already gone,” he said.
“Thankfully RoadTek was already there, so they cleaned up the highway and removed the car straight away.”
The tourists, two men and a woman, were mates travelling from Tasmania, and flew back to Cairns on Friday.