Innovative thinking gets road open quicker

Good collaborative working across emergency service teams and a local waste collection firm enabled a busy dual carriageway to reopen much quicker following a lorry fire.

The incident happened on Saturday lunchtime on the A14 on the westbound carriageway at Catworth. The driver of a lorry, which contained recyclable waste, became aware of a fire in the trailer. He pulled over into a lay-by and dialled 999. 

Fire crews from Huntingdon, Sawtry and a water carrier from Ramsey joined a crew from Thrapston in Northamptonshire at the scene, along with police officers who closed the road to allow crews to tackle the fire. 

Local firm Mick George Ltd was called to see if they could assist with removing the waste. On their arrival, their staff, together with firefighters and police, discussed an innovative solution to get the busy road open again. 

Watch Commander Gareth Boyd explained: "Fire crews put out the fire enough for the lorry to be driven in a police and fire convey to Mick George's site at Ringstead Grange. Once there, the trailer was emptied and we could spread the waste out and put the hot spots out completely.

"Taking it safely to the site meant the road could be reopened. If we'd have stayed firefighting on the road it would have been closed for a further two hours at least, so we're very grateful to Mick George for their help and support."

Jon Stump, Finance Director from Mick George Ltd said: "We were only too happy to offer our assistance and provide a safe area for firefighters to deal with the remainder of the fire safely and allow the road to be reopened to prevent further disruption for motorists."

A spokesman for Cambridgeshire Constabulary added: “After closing off the road to assist fire crews, our officers helped escort the vehicle to the site safely to allow firefighting to continue. This helped with getting the road reopened faster to lessen the disruption for those travelling on the A14.”

The cause of the fire was accidental.