Coach fire shuts M40 during morning rush hour

M40 fire by Oliver Jobson The fire occurred between junction 6 for Watlington and junction 7 for Thame

The M40 in Oxfordshire was closed for a number of hours during the morning rush hour due to a coach fire.

Emergency crews were called to the blaze at about 06:00 BST on the northbound carriageway between junction 6 for Watlington and junction 7 for Thame.

Both carriageways have since reopened but one lane is closed northbound past the scene of the blaze.

There were no passengers on board the vehicle and the driver escaped unhurt.

Repairs to a section of lane one on the northbound carriageway, which remains closed, are expected to take place on Tuesday.

Oliver Jobson, who tweeted a picture of the fire, said the coach had been "completely gutted and engulfed in flames."

Ginge, who got stuck in the tailbacks, came to a standstill southbound, about a mile away from the fire and could "see the smoke in the distance."

"They had a rolling roadblock I think," he told BBC Radio Oxford. "They had a police car and I could see the blue lights in the distance."

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BBC Local Live

  1.  
    'Blackened charred mess' 10:13: Serena Martin Reporter, BBC Radio Oxford

    BBC Oxford's Serena Martin has been at the scene of the Didcot B power station fire all morning and has viewed the damage.

    Didcot B power station fire

    She said: "All you can see is a blackened charred mess. At the top of each cooling tower is a fan, and all of that is just melting and dripping away. So two cooling towers are very seriously damaged."

     
  2.  
    Abingdon murder arrest 10:05: Emma Harrison BBC News Online

    A 39-year-old woman has been arrested on suspicion of murder after a man was stabbed in an Oxfordshire town.

    Police cordon by river in Abingdon

    The victim, who was in his 30s, was found at a mooring area by the river near Bridge Street in Abingdon on Sunday evening.

    He was taken to hospital but died from his injuries.

    Det Ch Insp Kevin Brown said officers believed it was "an isolated incident" and said there was no threat to the wider community.

     
  3.  
    News on the hour 09:57: Clare Woodling Newsreader, BBC Radio Oxford

    Half of Didcot B power station is out of action, after a serious fire devastated part of the plant.

    I'll have more on that at 10:00.

     
  4.  
    'No one injured' 09:40: The Independent

    In their story on the Didcot fire, The Independent reports that the power station's owner, RWE npower, said no one was injured during the fire, but that it was "too early to say" how much damage had been caused by the blaze.

     
  5.  
    'No disruption' 09:28:

    There was no operational impact from the fire at Didcot power station, and according to RWE npower who operate Didcot B, "there will be no disruptions to electricity".

    Didcot power station from the air

    Company spokesman Dan Meredith said: "We have a very resilient network in the UK and the way the National Grid can operate, they are able to call upon other power stations across the country to fill the gap that this power station has left as it's come off."

     
  6.  
    Top headlines
     
  7.  
    Didcot fire from the air 09:19:

    National Police Air Service Benson helicopter tweeted this thermal image of the Didcot power station blaze.

    Thermal image of Didcot power station fire
     
  8.  
    Danger to firefighters 09:10:

    The fire at Didcot B power station posed "significant challenges" to emergency service personnel, the Oxfordshire Fire and Rescue Service incident commander has said.

    Didcot B power station

    Dave Bray said that as the cooling towers were predominantly made of wood "there is that possibility that the cooling towers will fall down on top of the firefighters".

    He added: "We have extinguished the fire although there are hot spots that are remaining within the structure. We now face the challenge of getting to these and dampening them down."

     
  9.  
    Didcot investigations begin 09:02:

    BBC Oxford's Serena Martin is at Didcot power station this morning, and has tweeted: Didcot B running at half power after a major fire which has seriously damaged 3 cooling towers. Investigations have begun into the cause

    Didcot power station
     
  10.  
    News on the hour 08:55: Charles Nove Presenter, BBC Radio Oxford

    Firefighters are still present at Didcot B power station after a ferocious fire broke out in a cooling tower.

    I'll have more on that at 09:00.

     
  11.  
    Hinksey Hill congestion 08:49: Sara Dumbell Travel presenter, BBC Radio Oxford

    All routes, including the A34 both ways, approaching the Hinskey Hill Interchange are very congested.

    And there's the usual heavy traffic on the Oxford Ring Road Southern Bypass between Hinksey and Heyford Hill - both ways through the contraflow.

    The closure of Abingdon Road between the Kennignton Roudnabout and Redbridge Park and Ride as part of those works means there's heavy traffic diverting along the Iffley Road and Donnington Bridge both ways.

     
  12.  
    A34 troubles 08:37: Sara Dumbell Travel presenter, BBC Radio Oxford

    There are 40 minute residual delays on the A34 Northbound at East Ilsley after an earlier broken down lorry.

    The A34 Southbound is also heavy from the M40 junction 9 to Islip.

     
  13.  
    Eyewitness video 08:28: via Facebook

    The early stages of the blaze at Didcot power station was captured on film by eye witness Dr Georgina Miles, who shared the clip with BBC Oxford. You can watch the video on our Facebook page.

    Didcot B Power Station on fire

    She described the fire as "pretty dramatic, there was a lot of damage". Local people were warned to stay indoors and close doors and windows.

     
  14.  
    Bright start 08:18: Holly Green BBC Weather

    Quite a bright start to the day, a few showers will pop up, especially in the afternoon, and by then a bit more cloud will filter in as well.

    Holly Green

    The breeze will pick up later on and temperatures will peak at 15C (59F).

     
  15.  
    Didcot fire 08:05: Emma Harrison BBC News Online

    Firefighters are investigating the cause of a major blaze at Didcot B power station in Oxfordshire.

    Didcot B Power Station on fire

    At its height 25 fire engines and about 100 firefighters tackled the blaze at the gas-fired station, which broke out at about 20:00 on Sunday.

    The station was partially shut down but Energy Secretary Ed Davey said National Grid had assured him that there was no risk to energy supplies.

    The fire was later brought under control and there were no injuries.

     
  16.  
    Good Morning 08:00: Andrew Humphrey BBC Local Live

    Welcome to BBC Local Live for Oxfordshire this Monday morning.

    I'm in the BBC Oxford newsroom and will be bringing you the latest news, sport, travel and weather.

    You can get in touch throughout the day and tell us what you're up to via email, Facebook or Twitter.

     

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