Kelso man jumps in burning chip van to drive it to safety

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The owner of Kelso fish and chip van, the Roaming Chippy, risked his life last night to drive his blazing van to safety.

Karol Ciachera came home to his house at Woodside Park in Kelso last night (June 1) at 7.15pm, from his normal Monday route of serving fish and chips to villages to Ancrum, Heiton and Ladyrigg Farm.

But he was alerted by a neighbour at around 8pm that smoke was emitting from the van.

Knowing that the van held two 19kg bottles of LPG, had diesel in the tank and petrol in the gererator, Karol – worried about the safety of his family and neighbours – decided to drive it away.

He drove it a mile and a half out of town in the Coldstream direction and was soon followed by fire appliances, which had been alerted to the danger.

Then the flames became visible, so he pulled over on the road.

Two fire engines arrived, as did police from Duns and Kelso.

The road was closed for about two hours and it took another two hours for the recovery vehicle to arrive so there were some obstructions to the traffic.

Karol’s wife Alina told The Southern: “We are very happy that nobody got hurt and our three little children still have their daddy.”

The cause of the fire is not known but is being investigated.

Alina said: “We can’t speculate about the reasons for the fire, but we are sure that it was not vandalism.”

Karol and Alina would like to thank their customers – in Town Yetholm & Morebattle on Tuesdays, Kelso, Eccles & Leitholm on Wednesdays, Newtown St Boswells on Thursdays and Coldstream on Fridays – for their support, and to apologise for the lack of service until the van can be replaced.