Trailer full of coat hangers ablaze on motorway

An HGV trailer which was full of coat hangers caught fire on the M6 in a dramatic incident.

Wednesday, 22nd November 2017, 7:40 am
Updated Tuesday, 12th December 2017, 1:24 pm
Fire service

Flames could be seen shooting high into the night sky after the driver pulled the blazing trailer onto the hard shoulder of the northbound carriageway between junction 24 at Ashton and junction 25.

Firefighters were at the scene for around two hours and lanes of the motorway had to be shut while they tackled the fire.

Emergency services were called at around 8.50pm on Tuesday November 22 and found the trailer well ablaze.

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Firefighters from Wigan, helped by a crew from Birchwood, managed to save the trailer's load but said it will probably have to be written off due to the fire damage.

The driver told the emergency services the fire started at the bottom of the trailer, possibly from a problem with the brakes or a tyre, and quickly spread.

The entire northbound carriageway was closed while firefighters put out the flames and the inside two lanes remained shut throughout the operation.

Once the fire was out the crew then had to get into the trailer itself and painstakingly search through its contents to make sure no flames remained burning.

Watch manager Craig Cubbins from Wigan fire station said: "The trailer was badly damaged but we managed to save the load. I've never seen so many coat hangers.

"We controlled and extinguished the fire and then we had to get into the back and redistribute the load to make sure the flames were fully out inside.

"When we opened the doors of the big trailer and saw it loaded right to the edge it was obvious it was a big job.

"We used a jet which cuts through the bulkhead and sprays water inside. As well as extinguishing the fire it reduces the water damage.

"The driver was out of the vehicle and chatting to the police when we arrived. He was fine but obviously very surprised when he looked in his mirrors and saw the trailer on fire."

Motorists in the outside lane were slowed to 30mph to get past the incident once it had reopened as firefighters were still working on the lorry.

Highways England also attended the scene.