Cabarlah man Voelcker Sapolu and 15-month-old daughter Leilani. The family car caught on fire on New England Highway, Highfields on the way to Toowoomba.
Cabarlah man Voelcker Sapolu and 15-month-old daughter Leilani. The family car caught on fire on New England Highway, Highfields on the way to Toowoomba. Bev Lacey

Father pulls baby from burning car

CABARLAH man Voelcker Sapolu pulled his baby daughter from their smoking car just seconds before it erupted into flames at Highfields yesterday.

Mr Sapolu was driving to Toowoomba to take 15-month-old Leilani to day care and then go to work when he noticed a plume of smoke in his rear vision mirror at 8am.

He pulled over on the side of the New England Hwy and saw smoke billowing from the bonnet of his Mazda 626 station wagon.

"I got my daughter out. When I looked back, I noticed flames under the car," Mr Sapolu said.

"I number of people stopped by (to see if we were okay) so I am really thankful to them."

The pair was not injured.

Queensland Fire and Rescue Service Kitchener St station officer David Zimmerle said the car was engulfed in flames when firefighters arrived.

Mr Zimmerle said the fire was contained in the engine compartment, but smoke filled the car.

"It's quite obvious it was a mechanical problem," he said.

"It is pretty much destroyed now."

The blaze was extinguished by 8.30am.

A trail of oil was left on the road.

Mr Sapolu said he had only owned the second-hand car for one year.

The incident caused some traffic delays on the south-bound lanes of the highway.

The car was towed from the scene while tow truck operators organised a lift for the pair.

 



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