Family Survives Fiery Ride

By: Dara Rees Email
By: Dara Rees Email

A gas well explosion in Leslie County Tuesday night sparked a large fire along Highway 421. A car passing by at the same time as the explosion caught fire. WYMT spoke with the family that survived that fiery ride.

Sue Estep says she usually travels alone to pick up her daughter, Tish, from school. She says if it was not for her husband's quick thinking behind the wheel, her family would be gone.

Terry Estep says the road in Bear Branch was covered with smoke and fog on their drive home.

"When we got up there we stopped, slowed down. And when we did, something ignited," says Terry.

"It was white at first, you couldn't see anything. Swerving all over the road just about. And all of a sudden a big boom went off and the car caught on fire," says Tish.

Sue said, "Flames just went up the windshield and the whole car was blue. You could hear wind inside the car."

Terry Estep finally pulled the car into a ditch filled with water.

"It went down the road on fire, a long ways. There wasn't anything I could do, I tried my best to find some water to try and put the car out," says Terry.

The three got out of the car and ran away from it while it was still engulfed in flames. Tish burned her arm and the skin under her eyes as they were getting out.

"I thought my life was already gone right there because I couldn't breathe. I didn't know what to do, I was freaking out," says Tish.

After the flames stopped, the Estep family returned to their car and Terry says when it started up, they quickly drove away. Terry later spoke with crews working on the well at the time of the explosion who thought no inside the fiery car would survive.

"The good man above is with us on this ride," says Terry.

The Esteps say they are afraid to pass the well again, and will not drive by when crews are working on it. The Esteps say they still have some minor breathing problems from the gas, but it looks like everyone will be okay. Terry plans to take his car to the shop this week to see how much damage the fire caused.

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