Dramatic blaze that engulfed truck carrying straw near Thirsk may have been caused by discarded cigarette (From Darlington and Stockton Times)
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Dramatic blaze that engulfed truck carrying straw near Thirsk may have been caused by discarded cigarette
POTENTIALLY lethal smoke and burning straw, thousands of pounds worth of damage and hours of traffic chaos on one of the regions busiest roads...and it could all have been caused by a discarded cigarette.
The A19 was brought to a standstill in both directions near Thirsk , North Yorkshire today after burning bales of straw being transported on a lorry and trailer caught fire sending clouds of choking black smoke and burning masses of straw onto the carriageway.
For hours 25 firefighters battled to control the blaze and clear the debris before the road could be reopened. The cause is still being investigated, but one line of enquiry is it could have been a burning cigarette thrown from a passing vehicle.
The lorry and trailer was crossing a bridge on the A170 road leading from Thirsk to Sutton Bank when the fire was spotted around 9.40am. Bystanders said initially it was only the size of a football, but within seconds it spread, engulfing the 38 huge bales of straw being transported and the vehicle, which ended up a charred wreck.
North Yorkshire Fire Service had four fire engines and a water bowser at the scene. Station Manager Phil Whild said it had been a long, drawn out operation and the main problems were the location, acrid smoke and potentially burning strands of straw spreading the fire.
“There was an immediate problem with smoke and burning debris falling onto the carriageway. We didn’t want any accidents on the A19 so the road had to be closed. If you put water onto this type of fire it quells the flames, but it won’t extinguish it. Our main concern has been to protect the surrounding risks, the bridge, the road and the surrounding trees and hedgerows with water sprays,” he said.
“Farmers have been working with us removing the straw and debris so we can make sure it is properly extinguished. We are still investigating the cause of the fire. One possiblity is it could potentially be a discarded cigarette. We would urge motorists to think before you throw what is effectively burning material from a car window.”
The road was eventually reopened just after 4.30pm, nearly seven hours after the fire started.