Heroic bystanders who narrowly avoided being caught up in a four-vehicle pile up on a Fife road risked their own lives to pull people out of the burning wreckage.
A taxi driver caught up in the crash on the A915 Standing Stane Road between Kirkcaldy and Leven told how he called 999 than ran to help two Polish women drag casualties from the burning cars.
The witness said: “There were two guys with broken legs so obviously I was saying to them they had to get out because the car was on fire.
“But the Polish girls were so brave: even when they saw the fire they never had any second thoughts about trying to get people out.”
Emergency services were summoned to the crash scene, close to the junction with the Wellsgreen golf driving range, following reports of a serious collision just before 8.20pm on Friday.
A red Mercedes a200, a white Ford Ka, a blue BMW 530 and a white Ford Transit van were all involved in the crash and the road was closed for around four hours as a result.
Four men and one woman, aged between 18 and 29, who were in the Ford Ka, were taken to Kirkcaldy’s Victoria Hospital suffering from serious injuries – including broken bones.
All drivers and passengers are believed to have been clear of the stricken vehicles by the time police, fire and ambulance crews arrived.
The taxi driver, who asked not to be named, found himself in the middle of the drama as collisions took place in front of and behind his vehicle.
“I’m not sure what happened,” he said.
“Just as I slowed down as I got closer to the van in front of me, it was like the white car T-boned the red car.
“As soon as I saw the flames I phoned the emergency services. They were brilliant – the fire service were pretty rapid, put out the fire and then attended to a girl who looked like she had maybe broken her ribs.”
The witness said the two Polish women who stopped to help showed incredible courage by running straight to the vehicles and helping him to drag victims a safe distance away.
“I don’t think they were aware of the fire at first so I ran across and helped get three of the people out,” he said.
“I’m just glad everyone got out.”
An air ambulance was dispatched to the scene, but was later stood down and all casualties were taken to hospital by road.
The driver of the Mercedes, a 25-year-old woman, suffered minor injuries that did not require hospital treatment, as did the driver of the van, a 52-year-old man.
The five occupants of the BMW were uninjured.
A spokeswoman for the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service said it was initially alerted to a two car road traffic collision at 8.20pm.
Three appliances, two from Glenrothes and one from Methil, were called to the scene and the spokeswoman confirmed firefighters had to extinguish a fire which had broken out in one of the vehicles.