Farmer drove burning tractor away from homes

John Malins on his farm near Bicester with his burnt out tractor.'130620M-E279
John Malins on his farm near Bicester with his burnt out tractor.'130620M-E279

A well-known Bicester farmer earned the praise of firefighters after he drove a burning tractor away from homes and a main road before jumping clear on Wednesday.

John Malins, who was involved with Bicester Rugby Club for almost 40 years, moved his tractor off a main road near Souldern and into the little-used Tusmore Lane shortly after 11.30am.

Crew manager Simon Piper said: “The farmer John Malins deserves praise for his quick thinking and his selflessness in the way he kept driving his tractor while it was still on fire and parked it away from local houses and the main road.

“However we would always advise that at the first sign of fire that drivers would get out of the vehicle, stand well back in a place of safety and call the emergency services.”

Mr Malins, whose family have farmed at Lords Farm in Bicester for 100 years, said: “I was driving along and all of a sudden noticed flames in front of me.

“I knew I needed to get off the main road because I wasn’t going to save the tractor. I realised I was very close to houses.

“I live at Souldern so I knew there was a road to the right that was much more suitable.”

Mr Malins said a driver coming the other way had the presence of mind to slow down and let him get off the main road.

“It probably would have looked quite impressive,” added Mr Malins.

The tractor and an attached hay rake were destroyed, 
but no-one was injured in the accident.