Ipswich: Sally Strutt speaks about the horrifying moment her van burst into flames – with her daughter and nine dogs inside

Sally Strutt, with dogs Amber and Jazzy, rescued her four-year-old daughter Olivia and nine dogs fro

Sally Strutt, with dogs Amber and Jazzy, rescued her four-year-old daughter Olivia and nine dogs from her van that burst into flames as she was driving off the A12. - Credit: Su Anderson

A mother-of-two has spoken of the “terrifying” moment she had to pull her four-year-old daughter and nine dogs from a van that was going up in flames.

And she also thanked the emergency services and passers-by who helped her through the shocking ordeal.

Dog trainer Sally Strutt was driving her Vauxhall Movano van on Wednesday afternoon when she noticed a strange burning smell.

The 30-year-old had nine dogs in the back of the specially adapted van and daughter Olivia in the passenger seat.

And when she pulled to the side of the road Miss Strutt realised something was very wrong.

“I came off the A14 to go towards Sproughton and within five second there was a burning smell coming from the dash,” she explained.


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As she got out to look at the car she noticed the flames in the engine bay.

Miss Strutt said: “I pulled my little girl out and told her to go as far away as possible. She found it terrifying.”

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Miss Strutt then worked to free the dogs.

“I started off by getting them out on their leads and then realised I didn’t have time for that, so I opened the doors, they ran out and a man helped round them up.

“I owe so much to him for holding onto them. All I know is he was from a garage. He was wonderful.

“There were lots of nice people who stopped but he was there from the beginning.”

Miss Strutt managed to get all the dogs out, but sustained burns to her hands as the van was quickly engulfed in flames.

“It had exploded by the time the fire brigade got there,” she said. “I was terrified.

“I just felt incredibly lucky. I may have lost possessions but they can be replaced.

“It felt unreal. I didn’t think It was possible.”

Miss Strutt, who lives in Little Wenham with Olivia, her partner David Crissell, 30, and elder daughter Sarah, seven, said she had no idea how the fire started.

“There was no indication,” she said. “It’s had regular services and MOTs.

“There were no warning lights, nothing to indicate a problem.”

Miss Strutt wanted to thank everyone who gave assistance during the fire.

“They were incredible. They were all very supportive. I can’t thank them enough.”

Miss Strutt, who lost a lot of her diaries and work documents in the fire, has asked her clients to get in touch so she can start to piece her business back together.

She would also like to thank the passers-by in person. She can be contacted at sallyssuffolkdogs@gmail.com.

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