Man drives burning chip van to safety

Fire & Rescue were called to the blaze as the Roaming Chippy van went up in flames on Monday
Fire & Rescue were called to the blaze as the Roaming Chippy van went up in flames on Monday

The owner of a local fish and chip van risked his life this week when he drove it to safety after the vehicle had caught fire.

Karol Ciachera had returned to his home at Woodside Park, Kelso,at 7.15pm on Monday, June 1, after driving his usual route, earlier in the evening.

On Mondays Karol serves fish and chips from the van, the Roaming Chippy, to residents of Ancrum, Heiton and Ladyrigg Farm.

But that was not the end of Karol’s evening, as he was alerted by a neighbour at around 8pm that smoke was coming from the van.

Knowing that the vehicle held two 19kg bottles of LPG (liquefied petroleum gas), had diesel in the tank and petrol in the generator, Karol – worried about the safety of his family and neighbours – decided to drive it away from the built-up area.

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

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

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

The road was closed for about two hour.

And it took another two hours for the recovery vehicle to arrive so there were ongoing obstructions to the area’s traffic.

Karol’s wife Alina, speaking once the situation had been made safe, said: “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 later continued: “We can’t speculate about the reasons for the fire, but we are sure that it was not vandalism.”

Karol and Alina said that they would both like to thank their customers for their support.

The Roaming Chippy can be found across the region, in Town Yetholm and Morebattle on Tuesdays, in Kelso, Eccles and Leitholm on Wednesdays, in Newtown St Boswells on Thursdays and in Coldstream on Fridays.

The couple said they would also like to apologise for the lack of service until the van can be replaced and normal service resumed.