Mum saves kids from exploding car
This is the incredible moment a Canberra mother pulled her toddler and his baby brother from the family car seconds before it erupted into a ball of flames.
The horrifying incident - along with Catherine Mayes' astonishing bravery - was captured by CCTV from a neighbour's property yesterday.
In an emotional post to her Facebook page last night, Ms Mayes called the trio's dramatic escape "the ultimate wake-up call".
"I had a guardian angel looking after me and my boys today that's for sure," she said.
"This was the ultimate wake up call that life is short and can be over in a matter of minutes, that lives are so much more important than possessions, I am so lucky that it happened while I wasn't driving, and that I went into auto mode and got my boys out of the car and away from danger."
Ms Mayes had just parked in front of Gordon Adventure Playground in Gordon, Canberra with her sons Tommy, 20 months and Hunter, five months, in the back when she heard a loud "pop" from a portable battery pack on the front passenger seat.
"I've been having problems with my car battery so have a Boxo battery pack that I keep in my car which is used to jump start my engine when need be, I used it to turn the car on to take the boys to the park, all was good," she said.
"As soon as I pulled up and parked, the Boxo battery pack popped open and made a fizz sound.
"I quickly got Tommy out and as I was getting him out it exploded and let out a crazy amount of smoke and started to catch fire, raced to get Hunter out (you can still see his door open from me just pulling him out and running) at this point the car was filled with smoke, within a matter of a minute my whole car was on fire & everything inside it was gone.
"I didn't realise the extent of the smoke in the car when I was getting Hunter out! Still feeling so unbelievably thankful I got my babies out. (p.s Tommy's arm is totally fine from me ripping him away)".
Ms Mayes' partner John Stasik told Nine News he was blown away by her heroic act.
"I'm just glad Catherine was like … Superwoman really like … to get them out that quick and just. oh, she's amazing," he said.
Ms Mayes said she "didn't realise the extent of the smoke in the car" while she was trying to free Hunter from his baby seat.
"Still feeling so unbelievably thankful I got my babies out (p.s Tommy's arm is totally fine from me ripping him away)," she wrote on Facebook.
Ms Mayes also thanked bystanders who rushed to her aid in the aftermath.
"I am sooooo grateful for the two people who pulled up and helped me with the boys, the lovely couple who came out to make sure everything was okay and give me and the boys water & snacks," she wrote.
The mum also posted a series of photographs of her car, which was completely gutted by flames, showing what a narrow escape the trio had.