Veteran actor Dick Van Dyke was involved in a scary incident on Monday, August 19, in which his Jaguar sedan was engulfed in flames. The actor, who was behind the wheel, sustained no injuries after a group of people who were passing by gave him assistance. One of the motorists Jason Pennington, who apparently is an off-duty firefighter, pulled him out of the vehicle.
"They thought I had passed out so they yanked me out of the car," Van Dyke told TMZ with a laugh. "It just started making a noise, and I thought I had a flat at first, then it started to smoke, then it burned to a crisp," the actor recalled the incident which took place on the 101 freeway in Los Angeles, adding that he initially did not notice that his car was burning.
The actor explained that he was lucky to be alive following the scary incident, saying, "Not only that, there was a fireman, a nurse and a cop just happened to be passing by. Somebody's looking after me." A spokesman for the California Highway Patrol confirmed the incident, saying that "at no point did we call for an ambulance."
The actor's wife Arlene, who came to pick him up, took a short clip and shared it on Twitter. The 6-second Vine video shows her husband's car is completely burned. The actor can be seen talking to an officer on site. "Van Dyke's melted car @iammrvandy He's fine thank God!!" she wrote.
Van Dyke's publicist Bob Palmer told Reuters that the Jaguar sedan was "brand new." He quoted the actor as saying, "The only thing I'm embarrassed about is that I could never figure out that damned car."