A TAXI driver burned to death in his cab as rescuers tried to save him.
David Christie, 45, from Weston Road, Runcorn, was trapped in a Mondeo after it crashed through a wall and went down a 7ft bank in the town.
Two men from a nearby pub had tried to free Mr Christie, who was hanging upside down in the overturned car.
But as they battled to free Mr Christie from the wreckage in Cheshyre's Lane at 9.15 on Sunday night, the vehicle exploded, forcing them back.
Emergency services raced to the site, near Runcorn's ICI plant, but Mr Christie was pronounced dead.
It is understood he had dropped off three women at the Prospect pub, 200 yards from the crash site minutes earlier.
A fire service spokesman said: "Two men tried to help the driver get out. But the cab exploded. They could see him inside, it must have been pretty awful.
"The road is single track and very narrow. It has a sharp left hand bend, but the victim appeared to have driven straight on."
Witness Julia Renton, 44, said: "I'd settled down to watch TV and heard the bang.
"One of the girls next door said a car had gone through the wall. Next thing I knew, it blew up.
"Three lads who had gone down from the pub had been trying to get the driver out. I spoke to one of them and he was sobbing and saying: 'We kicked the window in, but it was no good'."
Anyone with information can ring police on 01244 613761.