These dramatic photographs show a crane consumed by flames on the A64 south of York this morning (Thursday).
The driver was ok having managed to get out before the fire took a hold of the cab.
The fire was on the eastbound carriageway on the York side of Tadcaster.
It closed both sides of the A64 leading to long delays.
The westbound carriageway opened up shortly after the fire but it took until 3:30am this morning to reopen the eastbound lanes
Exploding tyres hurled across the road
Crew Manager, Thomas Askham, from Tadcaster Fire station told YorkMix more about the scene he found when he arrived.
“The crane was well alight with heavy plumes of thick smoke.
“The biggest hazard for us was the exploding tyres. When they went off it did sound like an explosion.
“One of them actually went across both carriageways into the woodland on the opposite side about 30 metres away. So if anyone had been in the way of that, cars or anything else, it would have been catastrophic.”
“I can confirm the fire has severely damaged the carriageway so that’s going to have to be resurfaced and that means it will be closed for some time”
Joe Reynolds, from York, was driving his van westbound past the fire as one of the tyres exploded. He told YorkMix that it narrowly missed hitting him. There was some damage to his wing mirror though. He described the intense heat which he could feel even though he had his windows up. “I feel quite lucky really and it was very frightening, expecially seeing the driver running away from the crane to safety”
Charlie Reed passed the crane fire as it happened. He believes the road will be closed for most of the day due to heat damage.
The AA was reporting: “All lanes stopped, traffic problem and queueing traffic on A64 Eastbound before A659.”
Mathew Smith was on his way to Leeds when he witnessed the fire. He said even then the York-bound carriageway was closed – “nothing was moving”, he said.
Tadcaster resident Hannah Lauren told YorkMix she was woken by a series of explosions: “I was asleep – the house shook with the first explosion went back to sleep and heard the second explosions. The bangs were so loud.
“I went to look out the window and black smoke was billowing, now changed to grey so they’re starting to put it out.”
A North Yorkshire Police Traffic Officer, David Minto,tweeted:
The #A64 westbound carriageway at #Tadcaster is now open again. The eastbound carriageway between #HeadleyBar & #Lawtons #Islington remains closed for the remainder of today. Thank you for your patience & cooperation
There will be regular updated on YorkMix Radio today too
Highways Yorkshire says: “The A64 in North Yorkshire is closed eastbound between the A659 near Tadcaster (west) and the A659 near Tadcaster (east) due to an earlier crane fire.
“The fire has been extinguished however, the carriageway remains closed.
“A complex and protracted recovery operation is expected with resurfacing required following extensive fire damage to the carriageway.
“Resurfacing is scheduled to take place overnight with a current estimated reopening time of 06:00.
Eastbound traffic is being diverted via the hollow triangle diversion symbol:
- Exit the A64 eastbound using the Headley Bar Junction exit slip road and merge with the A659.
- After merging onto the A659 proceed along this road for approximately 3 miles to the junction with the A64 (Tadcaster Bar)
- At the junction, continue onto the slip road to rejoin the A64 eastbound.
There is currently heavy congestion on the diversion route and surrounding local areas. Road users are advised to expect disruption and allow extra time for their journey.