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Smoker survives LPG leak explosion

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A motorist has vowed to give up smoking after his liquid gas powered car burst into flames when he lit up at the wheel.

Peter Tidbury escaped with minor burns after his Peugeot 607 went up in a fireball when he lit a cigarette.

The door panels were blown out, pieces of windscreen were hurled 50ft and nearby homes were evacuated for fear of further explosions.

The 55-year-old energy saving manager, from south east London, was on a trip to visit his daughter in Lincolnshire and friends in South Yorkshire when he stopped at a filling station in Barnsley and put in 40 litres of gas.

He said he was told there was usually a slight smell of gas after filling up so he thought nothing of it until the fireball singed his face, hands and legs and melted the lining of his jacket.

A leak in the pipe from the filler to the fuel tank is thought to have allowed gas to seep into the car which was ignited by the cigarette.

Mr Tidbury bought the car for less than £5,000 three weeks earlier with 93,000 miles on the clock. And two garage checks passed the car before he got behind the wheel.

Liquid Petroleum Gas vehicles are cheaper to run than petrol or diesel cars with lower carbon emissions.

Mr Tidbury said he plans to switch to diesel and wants to quit smoking.

© The Press Association 2008