Oxford

Hay bale truck fire closes M40 southbound at Banbury

Hay bale fire on M40 Image copyright Phil Hodson
Image caption Thick smoke from the burning hay bales was blown across the M40

A section of M40 has been closed after a truck carrying hay bales caught fire, blowing thick smoke across the road.

The main carriageway was shut southbound at junction 11 for Banbury after the blaze started at 15:00 BST.

Oxfordshire Fire and Rescue Service, who sent four crews to the scene, said the truck was carrying 30 tonnes of hay.

No injuries have been reported and the road is expected to remain closed for a number of hours.

Insp Colin Clark of Thames Valley Police said: "A local farmer is assisting the emergency services by using his JCB excavator grabber to transport the burning hay from the lorry on to the carriageway where it is being hosed down.

"This will then be transferred into a skip to be removed."

Eyewitness Phil Hodson said there were "big delays" in the area.

"Hope the driver got out OK. I think he was standing on the hard shoulder," he said.

The Highways Agency said: "It is likely that the closure will remain in place for a number of hours.

"The vehicle will need to be recovered after the fire has been extinguished and once that has been done, any potential damage to the motorway infrastructure will need to be assessed."

Image copyright @ttid82
Image caption Traffic was diverted over the roundabout, causing long delays

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