A mystery man who risked his life after seeing a car engulfed in flames has been hailed a hero.

Hannah Fullilove of Buckhurst Hill, and two other friends had been out for a meal in George Lane, South Woodford, on Saturday night when they drove past a car flipped on its side in Chingford Lane.

The 21 year-old Epping New Road resident saw a flame coming from the car’s bonnet and pulled over with her friends.

She said:  "No-one was stopping so we pulled over by the railings and phoned the police and fire brigade.

"I wanted to get out but my friends wouldn’t let me as the fire was starting to get bigger."

She then spotted a man running towards the burning car.

Describing the drama, Miss Fullilove said: "He was trying to look through the windows to see if anyone was in there and tried opening the door but a friend that was with him was yelling at him and kept grabbing him back.

"It kept getting worse and I thought it was going to blow up. It sounded like a pipe was bursting and was making a hissing noise.

"He didn't care; he was determined to save whoever was in there." 

Firefighters arrived at the scene shortly after 1am on Sunday and ordered the mystery man to stay back, at which point the car was completely alight and "black smoke was bellowing out of it". 

Within minutes the fire was extinguished. but Ms Fullilove feared for the worst. 

"I kept thinking whoever was in the car would definitely be dead. They would have burnt to death," she added.

"None of us knew until they put it out that the car was empty.

"He was a true hero. I grabbed him afterwards and thanked him.

"He told me that could have been his children and said ‘if it was my children, I would want someone to save them’".  

Miss Fullilove took a picture of the man.

Do you know the man pictured? Call Natalie Glanvill on 07795476625