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A lorry bursts into flames on the M2 near Sittingbourne


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Drivers faced gridlock yesterday after a lorry fire saw the M2 closed.

Both the cab and trailer of the HGV became engulfed on the hard shoulder of the London-bound carriageway, just before the junction 5 turn-off at Stockbury, at around 10am.

The London-bound motorway was closed as emergency crews dealt with the incident.

VIDEO: The lorry engulfed in flames. Credit: Stephanie Atkins

The closure has affected dozens of roads surrounding the motorway, with delays reported from Canterbury to Sittingbourne.

Normal conditions resumed about 11pm.

The lorry on fire on the M2. Picture: Ryan Donnelly
The lorry on fire on the M2. Picture: Ryan Donnelly

The articulated lorry was carrying baled hay and fire crews are still working to put the fire out, as well as to protect corn in nearby fields.

Around 30 firefighters, six fire engines, two water units and a support unit remain at the scene.

A spokesman for Kent Fire and Rescue Service said the burning lorry was about 20 metres away from large fields of standing corn, and crews had to work hard to prevent it spreading.

Firefighters in breathing apparatus used hose reel jets to make an initial attack on the blaze using compressed air foam, which uses less water than traditional firefighting methods and is more environmentally sensitive.

This allowed trapped traffic to be released before the motorway was closed again to enable firefighting to continue.

Crews had to remove each bale of hay and extinguish it on the motorway beside the lorry, to prevent embers being blown across the neighbouring fields.

A Kent Fire and Rescue spokesman said: "Traffic has been cleared from both lanes to enable firefighting to recommence.

"We apologise if you are delayed on the road, we are working hard to clear the incident along with colleagues from Kent Police and Highways England."

Seven miles of trapped traffic has now been released, but long queues remain. Diversions are in place.

The lorry and its load continuing to smoulder. Picture: David Broad
The lorry and its load continuing to smoulder. Picture: David Broad
The lorry was still smouldering hours on
The lorry was still smouldering hours on
Faversham town centre is gridlocked as drivers try to find alternative routes. Picture: Suz Elvey
Faversham town centre is gridlocked as drivers try to find alternative routes. Picture: Suz Elvey

Earlier, officers criticised some drivers stuck in the tailbacks for using the hard shoulder, which delayed a fire engine trying to get to the scene.

At least six motorists face being prosecuted.

Nine are also facing action for taking photographs on mobile phones while at the wheel.

No one was injured in the fire.

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