Blasts from M62 fire rock town
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