Truck fire closes SH3 near Palmerston North

KATHRYN KING
Last updated 09:09 25/01/2013

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Firefighters battled a truck blaze this morning after aerosol cans onboard exploded into the air on a section of State Highway 3 near Palmerston North.

The truck driver, Hayden Hakaraia, pulled over on Rangitikei Line about 150m north of Hansens Line, just after 7am, after seeing flames coming out of the sides of his B-train curtainsider truck.

Chris Tuoro, who was along for the ride with his friend, said they had travelled from Auckland with a full load of packages and goods destined for Palmerston North, where they were to unload and pick up a new load to take back.

Neither man was injured and no other vehicles were involved.

Tuoro said they were alerted to the fire after seeing flames and burning pieces of flying debris coming out of the sides of the truck in the wing mirrors, so Hakaraia pulled over and they removed the trailer unit from the truck.

The only dangerous goods onboard were aerosol cans, some of which went shooting off into the air before fire crews arrived.

The fire must have been going for some time before they noticed it because he had been told there was a trail of burnt debris along the road behind them, he said.

The cause of the fire was yet to be determined, and Tuoro didn't know how it could have started either.

Helen Upson, from nearby Hanshi Kennels, said she heard two loud explosions that she thought were doors slamming shut.

When she went downstairs and saw her neighbour go past her house at speed, she followed him and saw the trailer unit up in flames.

She later realised the big bangs she heard were tyres exploding.

''The only thing I can think of is the brakes, but that shouldn't come up through the boards into the trailer,'' she said.

The fire was out about 8.30am, and fire services managed to stop it spreading to nearby vegetation.

Traffic diversions through Hansens Line and Newbury Line remained in place after it was extinguished while the scene was cleared.

Powerco were also called to the scene in case flames threatened nearby powerlines.

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- Manawatu Standard

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