Today's story from the Advertiser's archives looks back 15 years to the five Hermitage Academy pupils who saved a man's life after a car crashed and caught fire near the school.

Here's how we reported the story on February 10, 2005...

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FIVE Helensburgh schoolboys have been praised for saving a man’s life just before his car exploded.

The third year pupils from Hermitage Academy were on their lunchbreak on Thursday (February 3) when they heard a car explode and crash near the gates to Camis Eskan off Drumfork Road.

The friends saw the dazed driver stagger from the burning vehicle and stopped him from returning to the car in his confused state to recover personal belongings - just before the car blew up.

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They also called the police and fire brigade and waited with the man to make sure he was safe until the emergency services arrived.

Chris Litham, 13, described the scene: “We were on our lunch break and we heard something bang.

“We looked round and saw a car go on fire and a guy wandering away from the car.

“We didn’t want to get too close because we didn’t know if the petrol tank was going to blow up.”

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Ian Bellah, 14, continued: “I got him away from the car and sat him down and everything and made sure he was okay.

“He had burnt off bits of the skin on his cheeks and chin and singed his ear.”

The man, believed to be from Camis Eskan, was taken to hospital by ambulance with burns but is now recovering well.

The explosion is believed to have been caused by a container filled with petrol in the boot, that blew out the back windscreen of the car, causing its driver to crash into a tree.

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