A Banbury firefighter has thanked motorists for their patience after a severe fire on an articulated lorry on the M40 yesterday (Thursday) brought the town to a standstill.
The fire involved more than 20 tonnes of baled hay on the lorry near the flyover at junction 11, and meant the southbound carriageway had to be closed, resulting in heavy traffic on Hennef Way, Southam Road and the A361. The M40 re-opened later the same day at 10.30pm.
Kerry Blair, group manager at the Cope Road station, said: “Due to the nature of the material on fire, along with the hazard of the explosions from the vehicle fire it was necessary to close the southbound carriageway for public and firefighter safety.
“I would like to thank the public in traffic queues for their patience and commend the actions of our partner organisations who worked hard to ensure that safety was maintained and the M40 was re-opened as soon as practicable.”
Traffic was diverted off at the slip road and over the flyover following the fire, and firefighters quickly brought the fire under control.
Due to the deep seated nature of such a large fire loading it took several hours before the burnt hay and wreckage could begin to be removed to safety.
Specialist heavy mechanical lifting and transportation vehicles from Banbury Plant Hire were called to break-up the bales and extinguish the fire before transporting it to a safe location.
Oxfordshire County Council Fire and Rescue Service worked with partner agencies from Thames Valley Police and the Highways Agency to swiftly manage traffic and recovery measures, and specialists from Carillion, who have responsibility for the roads.