PHOTOS: Large lorry fire closes M5 in Devon for several hours
A lorry fire caused a section of the M5 in Devon to close for several hours this morning.
The articulated lorry and trailer caught fire on the southbound carriageway of the motorway between Cullompton and Exeter at around 5.45am.
Police and fire crews rushed to the scene after a number of passing motorists rang 999 to report the incident.
Officers closed both sides of the motorway while fire crews from Cullompton, Middlemoor and the water carrier from Danes Castle, attempted to get the fire under control.
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Firefighters described the large goods vehicle as “well alight” and used one hose reel jet, a main jet from the water bowser and two sets of breathing apparatus to extinguish the fire.
Due to heavy smoke and billowing flames, both carriageways of the motorway were closed for some time.
Police said at one point there were around 50 stationary vehicles backed-up on the southbound carriageway.
The northbound carriageway was initially fully closed before one lane was reopened. All three lanes of the northbound carriageway were re-opened as normal at 7am.
The southbound carriageway remained closed until 7.30am when lane 3 was re-opened. Speed restrictions of 40mph remain in place and traffic is heavy in the area.
Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service said the lorry, trailer and its contents were destroyed by the fire which was caused by “accidental ignition”.