A MAN’S life has been turned upside down after what should have been a relaxing trip at the seaside became a nightmare.
Nicholas Gibbs, of Major Street, Todmorden, planned on having a day out in Scarborough but ended up in hospital after the stress of seeing his car go up in flames resulted in a heart attack.
Mr Gibbs was travelling with his partner and one of her friends when he noticed a red light illuminated on the dashboard of his Citroen C4 Coupe.
He pulled over and called the breakdown service who came out to take a look at the car. The mechanic diagnosed a problem with the fan and carried out a repair before Mr Gibbs and his passengers continued on their journey.
About two miles further down the road he started to smell burning, so pulled into the car park of a Little Chef. “Within seconds of evacuation the windscreen wipers came on, the lights flashed and the car started and drove on its own, crashing into the wall,” he said.
“I went into the Little Chef and shouted ‘my car is on fire at the side of the building’. An employee came out with fire extinguishers and between both of us we part extinguished the flames to prevent the fire from spreading onto the building.”
The fire brigade was called to fully extinguish the blaze and Mr Gibbs rang his insurance company to get the vehicle picked up.
On the way home, he dropped his partner’s friend off at Tesco in Brighouse when he began to feel unwell.
“I had pains in my arm and what I thought was indigestion,” he said.
“The paramedic came out and said I was having a heart attack. I was rushed into Leeds Royal Infirmary and had two stents fitted. I’m now taking medication for blood pressure and blood thinning and I’m on a cardiac rehabilitation programme.”
Mr Gibbs, a self employed courier, has also been diagnosed with depression and it is looking like he will have to give up his business.
“Before I had the heart attack I had bookings for two weeks, which totalled up to £600. But there’s no way that I can carry on because of the angina,” he said.
Mr Gibbs has lodged an official complaint with his insurance company, Commercial Legal, as he feels that the settlement he has been offered is not acceptable and will leave him out of pocket.
“I have had no money for two months,” he said. “We are scrabbling around for every little penny just to buy food. We thought there was a light at the end of the tunnel but that’s been ripped away from us.”
He is looking for Commerical Legal to pay off the oustanding finance with Citroen for the car and to give him enough money to cover the costs of a new vehicle.
A Commercial Legal spokesman said it could not comment to a third party but it would be in touch with Mr Gibbs about the matter.