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TRUCKER DIES IN BLAZE HORROR; M-way showered with exploding aerosol cans.

Byline: SAMANTHA NANDA

A LORRY driver died in a freak accident on the M40 near Warwick, which left the motorway showered with hundreds of exploding aerosol cans.

The crash involved the Volvo lorry and a car which police believe was travelling in the wrong direction on the southbound carriageway.

The collision happened on the M40 southbound between junction 16, the Henley-in-Arden exit, and the M42, at 3.44am today.

The lorry caught fire and its load of aerosol cans started exploding in the heat.

The lorry driver was killed instantly in the collision. Police have not yet released his name or other details.

The woman driving the car escaped with slight injuries and was treated by paramedics before being taken to Selly Oak Hospital in Birmingham.

Warwickshire Fire and Rescue Service said the lorry was gutted by the blaze, which littered hundreds of exploding aerosol cans on to both sides of the motorway.

Station officer Simon Ellershaw said the car involved came to rest about 80 yards from the lorry, which toppled on to its side.

Mr Ellershaw added: "When crews arrived the heavy goods vehicle was on fire and on its side, filling all three lanes of the southbound carriageway and the hard shoulder.

"The aerosol cans, which are powered by butane gas, were exploding and whizzing across the northbound carriageway.

"It was a very severe fire. All the cargo was burned and the roof of the lorry was destroyed."

Leading firefighter Bob Squire, based at Leamington, said: "The lorry was well alight when we arrived. It was absolutely gutted in the end. There were aerosol cans exploding over both carriages.

"There were probably hundreds and they would all have to be removed before the motorway opened."

The M40 was expected to remain closed through the morning from the M42 junction, near Tanworth-in-Arden, to the Longbridge Island, junction 15, near Warwick.

Resurfacing work on the southbound carriageway would be required before the road can be reopened, the fire officer said.

Central Motorway Police officers attended the scene as well as specialist collision investigators from Warwickshire Police.

Eight fire crews, from Leamington, Henley, Stratford, Dudley, Redditch and Coleshill, were called out and crews were still at the scene this morning damping down the area.

A police spokesman said: "Initial inquiries indicate that the car was travelling in the wrong direction before the collision. Inquiries are at an early stage and any witnesses are urgently sought."

Call the Central Motorway Police group on 0121 322 6025.

CAPTION(S):

SCENE OF TRAGEDY: The lorry still lies across the M40 as emergency workers start to clear the road - it was expected to reopen this afternoon
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Publication:Coventry Evening Telegraph (England)
Date:Aug 30, 2003
Words:442
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