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Family of 4 escapes as SUV bursts into flames

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VISTA, Calif. – A dad and his three kids ran for safety after their car suddenly caught fire in Vista Wednesday.

“[Smoke] started coming up from beneath my feet,” the father, Gustavo Padilla, told FOX 5.

Padilla said he thinks he had a faulty transmission. The light on his dash popped up that morning as he started driving up a hill on Santa Fe Avenue. “I thought maybe if I pushed it a bit, I might make it,” he admitted. “I don't live too far from here. It was my mistake.”

The father of three was able to safely get his kids out before the flames overtook his car, but then the flames started to shift closer to nearby apartments. “My uncle tried to get the hose,” said Jasmit Singh, who was visiting from Michigan. “I guess you could say I was nervous.”

He said a number of neighbors grabbed hoses, trying to douse the flames from above. Others chose to leave their apartments in fear that their homes may catch on fire. Thankfully, Vista firefighters were on scene within minutes and able to safely put out the fire.

Padilla said the family lost some valuable things in the car, but all in all, is just glad they’re all safe. He admits he should have had his car looked at a couple months ago, and offers this advice: “Take care of your car, that’s for sure.”

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