Blasts from M62 fire rock town

Rochdale Observer - - FRONT PAGE - SAM YARWOOD @sam­yarwood89

HUGE ex­plo­sions could be heard across Rochdale as a mas­sive blaze broke out on the M62.

The mo­tor­way was closed in both di­rec­tions after a mo­bile crane caught fire on the car­riage­way.

Thou­sands of litres of diesel leaked onto the mo­tor­way near Junc­tion 21 for Mil­nrow and quickly caught fire at around 8.30pm on Sun­day night.

Peo­ple re­ported hear­ing ex­plo­sions and loud bangs for miles around, fire chiefs said these were caused by the ve­hi­cle’s tyres ex­plod­ing as a re­sult of the heat.

A huge plume of smoke could also be seen bil­low­ing into the air from a dis­tance. Hun­dreds of peo­ple took to so­cial me­dia im­me­di­ately after the blaze ex­press­ing their con­cerns.

One wo­man said the force of the ex­plod­ing tyres made her win­dows shake, while oth­ers re­ported groups of neigh­bours go­ing out into the street to see what was hap­pen­ing.

The blaze caused se­vere de­lays on the M62 in both di­rec­tions, with traf­fic backed up for miles.

Mo­torists had to turn around and come off the mo­tor­way via the slip road.

A spokesman for Greater Manch­ester Fire and Res­cue con­firmed that the driver of the ve­hi­cle had man­aged to es­cape with­out in­jury. They said four crews were sent to the scene, as well as a spe­cial­ist haz­ardous ma­te­ri­als of­fi­cer who was mo­bilised to deal with the spilled diesel.

A state­ment from GMFRS said: “At 8.36pm on September 24, four fire en­gines from Hey­wood, Rochdale and Chad­der­ton were mo­bilised to a fire in­volv­ing a mo­bile crane on the M62 west­bound car­riage­way be­tween J21 Mil­nrow and J20 Rochdale.

“The ve­hi­cle was well alight on ar­rival of crew and the heat had caused the ve­hi­cle’s tyres to ex­plode which could be heard across parts of Rochdale and Old­ham.

“Fire­fight­ers wear­ing breath­ing ap­pa­ra­tus are tack­ling the fire with two hose reels while a spe­cial­ist haz­ardous ma­te­ri­als of­fi­cer has been mo­bilised to the scene as the ve­hi­cle has leaked some diesel onto the car­riage­way. Col­leagues from Greater Manch­ester Po­lice and the High­ways Agency have closed both car­riage­ways caus­ing queues as ex­pected.”

Two lanes of the mo­tor­way were re­opened at 4am on Mon­day but driv­ers in the morn­ing rush hour were fac­ing long queues and de­lays of more than an hour.

The crane fire near junc­tion 21 to Mil­nrow brought the M62 to a stand­still

●●At the height of the crane fire on the M62 near Rochdale was closed in both di­rec­tions

●●There were long traf­fic queues on the M62 (left) while the ve­hi­cle (right) was vir­tu­ally de­stroyed in the fire

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