12-year-old warns dad when car goes up in flames

Posted at 3:37 PM, Oct 09, 2017

Cell phone video showed fire engulfing a family car after 12-year-old Raleigh warned his dad.

Just seconds before Raleigh was in the front seat and his dad Tom was behind the wheel.

"Me and my dad could have died," said Raleigh.

The car went up in minutes. It got stalled in several feet of water because of the King Tide in St. Petersburg, Florida.

Good Samaritans pushed into a neighbor's lawn. Now, charred grass and a burned fence are reminders of the weekend

"It just brings back a lot of memories," said Raleigh.

Raleigh said he is still rattled. But he took a break from school to share the ordeal. He said his dad started to text friends to cancel dinner plans when he warned him.

"I jump out and yelled dad smoke!  We called the fire department. Thank God they got here quick because if it had been two more minutes it would have gotten to the fuel tank and exploded," said Raleigh.

That's exactly what fire crews told told Tom, he said he's sitting here thanks to Raleigh's quick thinking.

"He was key in getting us out as fast as he did because I was not paying attention," said Tom.  "I have never seen a car go that fast. It was amazing that it could be fully engulfed through the back seat within three-to-five minutes," Tom said.

Holly Walker got the call while on a women's retreat two and half hours away. This close call is why she wanted to speak.

"I am glad we are doing this today because I would have never thought if it was me alone in the car, I would never thought not to start my car," said Holly.

Fire crews said a car going up in flames is rare. But they do recommend not starting your engine if your vehicle is submerged. That could destroy your engine.

Raleigh learned a lot. He's just happy to be here and even looking forward to going back to class.

"It's a lesson that it could have gone worse," said Raleigh.

For some tips if your car gets submerged click here.