Dick Van Dyke has narrowly escaped a serious and, in all probabilities, fatal accident owing to the kindness of a passing stranger. Van Dyke was driving along the 101 freeway in Los Angeles when his Jaguar burst into flame. Admirably, a passer-by named Jason Pennington (according to TMZ) was driving along the same freeway when he saw a car full of smoke on the side of the road, with an elderly man - it later transpired was musical legend Dick Van Dyke- attempting to free himself from the driver's seat.

Dick Van Dyke
Dick Van Dyke at the SAG Awards in L.A.

Dramatically, Pennington pulled the 87-year-old actor from the driver's seat just as flames began to enter the car. Thankfully, although Van Dyke was obviously shaken, no damage was done and he did not need to be taken to hospital. As suggested by the L.A. Times it seems Pennington and another passer-by were off-duty nurses who rushed to Van Dyke's aid.

It appears, from a police report obtained by the L.A. Times, that passing drivers had already reported a flaming car on the side of the highway. It seems Van Dyke may have been unaware his car was aflame until the last moment. 

His wife, Arlene Van Dyke arrived shortly to ensure her husband was well, she informed fans he is "fine". She remained at the scenes with her husband to deal with the wreckage. She posted a video on Twitter in which Van Dyke can be heard tell police officers, "you can have it" in response to their question "what do you want to do with it?"

As you can see from the video there's truly nothing which can be done with it. As his wife commented on Twitter the car has "melted".

Dick Van Dyke is best known for his roles in such classic musicals as Mary Poppins and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. More recently he has appeared as the villainous Cecil Fredricks in Night at the Museum and Mr Bloomsbury in Curious George

Arlene and Dick Van Dyke
Arlene and Dick Van Dyke at the 2013 SAG Awards. 

Dick Van Dyke
Dick Van Dyke at the 2013 SAG Awards.