Mana truck fire drama
A truck driver drove his burning rig loaded with aerosols and paint thinner for more than a kilometre to save nearby houses in Mana last Friday morning.
When driver Mike McGregor, 52, finally found somewhere safe to stop, he battled burning material falling from the trailers as he tried to uncouple them.
Several explosions rocked the vehicle before firefighters arrived at 6.15am. The drama unfolded on Mana Esplanade on State Highway 1.
McGregor had to pass two petrol stations, shops and houses before he could even think about stopping.
In the meantime, motorists trying to alert him to the blazing rig behind him, tried to stop him to alert him to the fire.
‘‘The drivers of these cars did not know what I had to do. I had to get the truck and trailers to open ground before I could stop,’’ he said.
‘‘ If I stopped along the Mana Esplanade it would have been chaos. Who knows what might have happened? I did what I had to do for safety reasons.’’
Having been raised in Porirua, McGregor knew the Mana Esplanade area well and he knew he wanted to stop his rig on the SH1 shoulder just south of the Paremata roundabout.
‘‘I was not going to stop in town,’’ he said. ‘‘I had no choice. I had to get the truck in to the open.’’
The highway was blocked, disrupting commuters. The southbound lanes of SH1, which were covered in foam, and debris, were closed for several hours.