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Spontaneous Car Fire Creates Terrifying Moment For Mom

CHICAGO (CBS) -- Imagine driving home with your toddler strapped in the back of the family car. All of a sudden, you smell smoke, then see flames. It was a terrifying few moments for a northwest suburban mom.

On Friday morning, Helen Barajas left an Arlington Heights park when her car "blew up in flames".

"The fire was coming fast and furious," she said. "Kind of like haze coming out of the air conditioning vents."

Her 2-year-old son was strapped into a car seat in the back.

"My first thought is when I saw the flames was to get my son out of the car," Barajas said.

But, the light smoke quickly intensified, and Barajas needed to get out with her son.

"Once I got to that corner, there were flames coming out of the bottom of the passenger side where the glove compartment was," she said.

Neighbor Diane Rukstales called 911 and recorded video on her cell phone.

"The car burst into flames and then it kind of escalated," she said. "I was sitting out in my backyard, and then I heard a child's voice yelling 'mama, mama, mama.'"

Barajas and her son narrowly escaped and were forced to watch as firefighters put out the flames. She is warning other drivers to be aware that this could happen.

The fire was put out in minutes. A shell of twisted metal is all that's left, pieces of the charred car still on the street.

Barajas said she hasn't had any problems with the car in the five years she's had it. But, she says it could have been a lot worse.

The 2014 Acura MDX has six open recalls, but none come with a risk of spontaneous fire.

Barajas says she plans on calling Acura to try and find out what happened.

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