20 Mar 2015

Truck driver deserves award - police

5:47 pm on 20 March 2015

The truck driver who steered his burning cargo of flammable goods away from houses deserves an award, police in Wellington say.

Southbound lanes on State Highway 1 near the Paremata roundabout were closed this morning as emergency services fought to contain the fire which caused major traffic delays.

Sergeant Mike George said the truck and trailer unit caught fire on Mana Esplanade and the quick thinking of the driver prevented a potential catastrophe.

"He realised he was on fire, and had dangerous goods and chemicals on the truck so he made the decision to drive on to the motorway, south of the Paremata roundabout, to avoid putting the houses in danger."

Mr George said trees and foliage on the side of the motorway were badly burnt by the fire and the damage to houses would have been severe.

State Highway 1 near the Paremata roundabout will be closed intermittently today as the wreckage of the burnt out truck is removed.

The truck was carrying a range of flammable goods including paint thinner, batteries and aerosols when it caught fire.

The transport agency said the southbound lanes will likely be closed until 3pm although one lane may be reopened for a time depending on progress.

It said State Highway 2 and 58 are alternative routes to get in to Wellington.

If you witnessed the fire and would like to share pictures or video with us, please email it to: iwitness@radionz.co.nz

The cause of the fire in the trailer was not known and there were no reports of injuries.