M5 trailer blaze sparked by 'careless fag end thrown from passing vehicle'
PUBLISHED: 07:55 21 March 2019
Avon Fire and Rescue Service
A trailer engulfed by flames on the M5 was caused by a burning ‘fag end thrown from a passing vehicle’ – according to a haulage company owner.
Owner of TR Doidge, Terry Doidge, said 14 tonnes of hay was set alight which caused ‘chaos’ on the motorway, as flaming bales fell off of the trailer and into the lanes during a rush-hour commute.
He said he was ‘very grateful’ to the company driver and his ‘quick reactions’ after he detached the lorry towing the trailer to save the vehicle from being damaged.
Terry said the actions which he believes caused the fire were ‘careless’ after the incident took place on the M5 southbound between junctions 20 (Clevedon) and 21 (Weston) on March 13, just after 6pm.
Six crews from Avon Fire and Rescue Service tackled the blaze throughout the night and the motorway’s lanes were reopened almost 12 hours after the fire started.
Highways England and Avon and Somerset Constabulary accompanied the crews and cordoned off two of the three motorway lanes shortly after the lorry was forced onto the motorway’s hard shoulder.
MORE: Traffic at standstill on M5 after lorry fire
The lorry towing the trailer was eventually removed from the motorway, hay bale debris cleared and a damaged road surface was repaired by 5.50am the following day.
A spokesman for the fire and rescue service said: “Crews from Avonmouth, Clevedon, Nailsea, Temple, Portishead and Bedminster fire stations were called to a tractor unit carrying 14 tonnes of hay on fire on the M5 motorway’s hard shoulder.
“On arrival, firefighters used two high-pressure hose reels and two 45mm jets to extinguish the fire.
“The crews were also assisted by the service’s Portishead community responder.
“Lanes one and two of the motorway were cordoned off for some time, where hay had spilt onto the carriageway, but lane three remained open to allow vehicles to pass.
“With the assistance of a grab lorry to clear the hay from the carriageway, crews then used drag forks to turn it over and damp down the area.
“Firefighters were also joined at the scene by police colleagues and Highways England.
“The cause of the fire is thought to be accidental.”
Long delays were reported on the M5 due to the fire, with drivers held up for more than an hour.