Mechanic Marc frees baby in Linktown car drama

Mum Charlene Johnstone and daughter Charlie (who turned one this week) are reunited with Marc  Dickson at Farmer's Autocare. Pics: Steven Brown
Mum Charlene Johnstone and daughter Charlie (who turned one this week) are reunited with Marc Dickson at Farmer's Autocare. Pics: Steven Brown

A car mechanic has been hailed a hero after rescuing a trapped toddler in Kirkcaldy - using an airbag and a broken piece of brake pipe!

A drama unfolded on Links Street on Thursday morning when police, a fire crew and a crowd of local residents attempted to free 11-month-old Charlie Johnstone who was trapped in her mum’s Citroen for nearly an hour.

But, it took Marc Dickson from Farmer’s Autocare to demonstrate a nifty trick of the trade which finally set her free.

Mum Charlene (27), who works at ASDA, explained: “I was taking my wee one to my aunt and uncle’s house because I was working that day.

“I put her in the car, in her car seat, and the keys were on the driver’s seat. As I shut the door, the car automatically locked with me outside.

“I was a wee bit stuck!”

Not only did Charlene not have a spare key, her house keys were locked in the car too.

Luckily she still had her phone.

“My uncle tried to give me a hand then the police and the fire brigade came but they were going to have to smash the windows,” she said.

“I remembered I had got my car MOT’d at Farmer’s Autocare and phoned them.”

Marc Dickson (33), assistant manager, took the frantic call. He said: “She mentioned the fire brigade were there and were about to break the window but I dropped the phone the minute she mentioned there was a kid locked in the car.

“When these cars are unlocked they automatically lock themselves after 60 seconds if the keys are not put in the ignition. It’s a safety mechanism.

“With modern cars you need the right tools to break into them and I didn’t have them - I had only had a bit of brake pipe and a mini airbag.”

Armed with his meagre set of tools, Marc jumped in a van and drove to Links Street where he was met by an expectant crowd.

“I felt I had 100 eyes watching me so, aye, there was a wee bit of pressure,” he laughed.

“A brick was the only alternative way and I didn’t want to do that!

“I put the airbag in the door and pumped it up - it bends the door, you see - then used the old piece of brake pipe to catch the door handle. Thirty seconds and she was out.”

“Her mum was over the moon.”

Safe to say, Marc has since been the butt of a few jokes among colleagues, who say they might buy him a superhero’s cape for Christmas.

Manager Alan McPhee said: “We’re Farmer’s Autocare - the fourth emergency service!”

But for Marc, it was all in a day’s work and he said he was simply happy to help.

“I’ve never had a phone call like that before - it’s pretty unusual,” he said.