Firefighters praised for tackling lorry fire that scattered exploding aerosol cans across M11

Firefighters have been praised after tackling this shocking scene on the M11, in which a lorry was engulfed by flames and exploding aerosol cans were scattered across the motorway.

The scene of the lorry fire on the M11 southbound between junctions 10 and 8 on July 14, 2021, at 4.57pm. Picture: Saffron Walden Fire Station The scene of the lorry fire on the M11 southbound between junctions 10 and 8 on July 14, 2021, at 4.57pm.

Picture: Saffron Walden Fire Station

Incredibly, the lorry driver was not injured in the incident, which happened on the southbound carriageway between Duxford (junction 10) and Stansted Airport (junction 8) at 4.57pm on Wednesday (July 14). Black smoke could be seen as far away as Cambridge as the lorry caught fire near Quendon in Essex, leading to almost 24 hours of disruption, lorry drivers resting overnight on the road and other motorists with 40-mile detours.

Rob Green captures the fire at its height before emergency services brought it under control (49225278) Rob Green captures the fire at its height before emergency services brought it under control (49225278)

The county’s fire service sent five appliances from Stansted, Newport and Dunmow stations, two from Saffron Walden and an incident command vehicle from Hawkwell, near Southend-on-Sea, to tackle the blaze. Station manager Dave Bond said: “The articulated lorry was carrying aerosol cans which exploded and scattered across both sides of the carriageway.

Thankfully the driver was not badly hurt. “I must praise crews who worked extremely hard to establish a water supply in such a remote location and quickly got the incident under control.

The smoldering remains of the lorry on the M11 in the aftermath of the fire on Wednesday (July 14) Picture: Essex County Fire and Rescue Service. The smoldering remains of the lorry on the M11 in the aftermath of the fire on Wednesday (July 14) Picture: Essex County Fire and Rescue Service.

“I would like to thank everyone involved in bringing this incident to a safe conclusion – and in particular our control team who received dozens of calls with conflicting reports but still managed to get crews to the scene quickly.” The fire crews left at about 8.20pm, but Highways England and Essex Police remained at the scene as work on the carriageway was carried out.

Canisters litter both sides of the M11 in the aftermath of the lorry fire on Wednesday (July 14) Picture: Essex County Fire and Rescue Service. Canisters litter both sides of the M11 in the aftermath of the lorry fire on Wednesday (July 14) Picture: Essex County Fire and Rescue Service.

Police officers worked through the night to clear the motorway and guided vehicles off both the northbound and southbound carriageways between the junctions.

Lorry drivers had no option but to rest on the southbound carriageway as the road was resurfaced overnight, while other motorists went on long detours to continue their journeys.

Canisters litter both sides of the M11 in the aftermath of the lorry fire on Wednesday (July 14) Picture: Essex County Fire and Rescue Service. Canisters litter both sides of the M11 in the aftermath of the lorry fire on Wednesday (July 14) Picture: Essex County Fire and Rescue Service.

Highways England confirmed at 4.15am on Thursday (July 15): “The M11 in Essex is now open northbound, however, lane two (of two) remains closed between Junction 8a and Junction 9 due to central reservation barrier damage following the fire. Southbound remains fully closed between junction 10 (Duxford) and junction 8 while emergency resurfacing works take place.”

Canisters litter both sides of the M11 in the aftermath of the lorry fire on Wednesday (July 14) Picture: Essex County Fire and Rescue Service. Canisters litter both sides of the M11 in the aftermath of the lorry fire on Wednesday (July 14) Picture: Essex County Fire and Rescue Service.

Just before 9am, it confirmed the motorway between junction 9 and junction 8 southbound had finally reopened but lane two was still out of use because of fire damage to the central safety barrier, leading to seven miles of congestion southbound between junctions 10 and 8 and adding at least 50 minutes to journey times.

Canisters litter both sides of the M11 in the aftermath of the lorry fire on Wednesday (July 14) Picture: Essex Fire Service (49233205) Canisters litter both sides of the M11 in the aftermath of the lorry fire on Wednesday (July 14) Picture: Essex Fire Service (49233205)

Finally, at 4.35pm on Thursday, it was confirmed that the second lane had reopened, almost 24 hours after the fire.

Canisters litter both sides of the M11 in the aftermath of the lorry fire on Wednesday (July 14) Picture: Essex County Fire and Rescue Service. Canisters litter both sides of the M11 in the aftermath of the lorry fire on Wednesday (July 14) Picture: Essex County Fire and Rescue Service.

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