Ashley Hall's video of the tunnel blaze

THIS is the brave driver who saved the life of a lorry driver moments before an explosion tore through one of Newport’s Brynglas Tunnels yesterday.

Quick-thinking Ashley Hall beeped his horn and flung open the passenger door of his car urging the man to get in as thick black smoke and flames engulfed the lorry in the westbound tunnel at 8.33am.

As the pair drove out a “gigantic” explosion rang out, followed by several smaller ones.

Mr Hall, 31,said: “It was just unbelievable.

As we drove out there was a massive explosion, it filled with smoke and I thought the tunnel had collapsed. There was crackling and popping like popcorn in a microwave.”

“There was about 20 or 30 cars behind us, I hoped they got out.”

The former special police constable, who works at Newport’s EADS defence systems, was approaching the tunnel when he spotted black skid marks on the road, which looked like they had been caused by the lorry.

As he got closer he saw flames coming from the front righthand tyre of the vehicle underneath the cabin, before he spotted the driver who was about to climb back in.

He said: “I thought should I stop to help or should I go out of the tunnel because it’s a tunnel and this could blow up. I just thought I have got to get him out of there. He was white with shock, I felt really sorry for him, he was trying to isolate the fuel line.

“It was quite amazing from a tiny fire on the tyre to an immense explosion. We rang the emergency services, then we just stopped and watched really.”

He added: “I am glad I did what I did and hopefully got him out before anything worse happened.”

Mr Hall, of Bristol, said the driver, who he believes was in his late 30s, thanked him for his help, before Mr Hall carried on his journey to work.