A CAR driver has been hailed a hero after he risked his life to drag another motorist from a burning car.
Birchencliffe dad-of-two Alan Simpson has revealed he realised the other car was going to explode at any moment, but still went up to it to save the man's life.
The enormity of what the 48-year-old did only hit home several days later when the man he saved, Gavin Little, of Lindley, went to thank him.
Police have now put him forward for a bravery award.
Alan was driving home on the M62 and was about to come off the westbound carriageway at Ainley Top when he was caught up in the crash drama at 6pm on November 15.
He was in a Mini Metro and Gavin was in a Peugeot 106 behind. Both were queueing to leave the motorway.
A BMW then smashed into the back of the Peugeot. The impact shunted the Peugeot forward and it clipped the Metro before ending up shoved up the embankment.
The Peugeot immediately caught fire at the back and Alan realised the driver was in trouble.
"I think the driver's door had been buckled by the force of the impact and he couldn't open it," he said. "Luckily he had the presence of mind to lay on his back across the seats and kick the driver's window out.
"The car could have blown at any time. Blazing petrol was leaking across the carriageway , but there was no way I was going to leave him."
He grabbed Gavin's legs and dragged him through the small window. He helped him to his own car and the Peugeot exploded moments later in a raging fireball, sending parts of the car flying across the motorway.
"It's the scariest thing I've ever had to do," said Alan. "But I had to do it. I'm sure anyone would have done the same in a similar situation."
Gavin said: "I owe so much to Alan's actions. If it had not been for him I would not be here."
Alan is married to Elizabeth and they have a son, Ross, 24, and a daughter, Aislinn, 25.
Insp Tim Dale from the police motorway unit said: "I will be submitting his name to The Society for the Protection of Life from Fire for much deserved praise and recognition."