Spain — A Scottish family were forced to evacuate their hotel on Spain’s Costa del Sol just an hour after they had arrived, as a raging bush fire started tearing through the area.
Paul and Valerie Clark, who were travelling with their three children, were just unpacking in their room when they were forced to flee the hotel as the blaze suddenly changed direction and approached their accommodation.
When the family, from Dalgety Bay, Fife, arrived at the Club La Costa apartments, the mountains in the distance were ablaze.
But a sudden change in wind sent the fire surging towards their holiday complex they were staying in with their children Caitlin, 16, Logan, 11 and Isla, eight.
The couple, who both work for HM Revenue and Customs in the capital, had to grab their belongings and flee.
Paul, 46, a tax officer, said: ‘By this time thick smoke had blacked out the sun and hot ash was raining down on everyone.
‘It looked bad when one of the Spanish porters ran up to our balcony swore in English then ran off back to reception.
‘He came back minutes later and told us it was time to go.
‘Our youngest daughter Isla was crying at this stage, shouting, ‘We’re going to die’ and started stuffing her clothes into carrier bags.
‘I grabbed our passports and cash and changed out of my flip-flops into my trainers so I could run faster.
‘Our eyes were streaming with tears and no-one knew what to do.
‘It was scary stuff and all sorts of things are going through your head, but I just wanted to get everyone to safety.’
He added: ‘It was like Mount Vesuvius had erupted and we were in Pompeii.
‘We just followed everyone else and made our way down to the beach to get away from the smoke and flames.
‘Holidaymakers were still arriving from the airport in taxis, but the drivers took one look at the situation and sped off.’
Emergency services arrived and closed off nearby roads while helicopters began dropping water on the fire below when the fire took hold on Sunday, July 6.
Spanish authority Infoca sent planes and helicopters, and four fire brigades attended on the ground supported by two fire tankers for the level one alert fire.
The family are now holidaying in Fuengirola, also on the Costa Del Sol.
Around 200 residents from 55 properties in the popular tourist destination were forced to leave the area following the forest fire – the cause of which is not clear – with another 800 going voluntarily because of smoke.
Valerie, 42, also a tax officer, said: ‘At first it was exciting watching the fire in the mountains, it seemed far away and at no point did anyone think it would head for us.
‘But as soon as the wind changed things started to get frightening and panic set in.
‘Thankfully no-one died and they managed to evacuate everyone ‘
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