A MAN has described a fatal car fire in his home town as 'surreal' and disturbing.

Andrew Williams, of Willington, said he was getting changed upstairs at 1.40pm on Monday when he heard a loud bang.

"I went to go down the street and the car was on fire in the middle of the road," he said.

The Northern Echo:

"It was quite surreal, I didn't know what to do."

Mr Williams did not realise there was anyone in the vehicle, and it was only later he learned the female driver had died.

"It's quite upsetting," he said. "It's disturbing that it has happened so close to home."

Maurice Pearson, 79, said he heard people shouting outside and went out, where he saw the car on fire. "It was someone inside," he said. "There were quite a few people standing outside looking at it - I didn't think there was anything I could do to help.  The fire brigade arrived soon and had it out in minutes.

"It's very upsetting to hear someone has died."