A motorway carriageway has been closed after a reports of explosions coming from a burning lorry.
People living close to the M62 in West Yorkshire said they were woken by a series of loud blasts which made their windows rattle at about 4.15am on Thursday.
Those who rushed to bridges over the motorway saw a tractor unit on fire at the side of the road with debris strewn over the carriageway, as far as the central reservation.
Firefighters called to the scene near East Ardsley, south of Leeds, determined that the dramatic sounds of explosions had come from the vehicle’s tyres bursting due to the heat from the blaze.
Kriss Waite, who lives close to the scene, said: “We started hearing bangs at about quarter to four. They were very loud, they rattled the windows.
“We thought there had been an incident on the motorway so we ran down to the motorway bridge. There was a lorry on fire and it was still exploding when we got there.”
Transport manager Ms Waite said the driver was okay and appeared to have managed to separate the trailer from his cab.
She said it was fortunate the incident happened in an area where there are allotments closest to the motorway embankment as the flying debris could have endangered homes if they were closer.
Ms Waite said the emergency service arrived after about 10 minutes with around six fire engines and about eight or nine police cars attending the scene.
Police closed the eastbound carriageway between junction 28 at Tingley and junction 29 at Lofthouse, and warned commuters to avoid the area.
West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service said: “Crews are currently in attendance dealing with a fire involving the trailer of a Heavy Goods Vehicle.
“Numerous calls were received stating explosions coming from the vehicle, but on arrival this has proved to be the tyres of the vehicle that were exploding due to heat.
“The trailer unit is well alight and crews are currently using three hose reel jets and two breathing apparatus and are setting up a water shuttle to ferry water to the incident.”
The service said five crews – from Ossett, Hunslet, Normanton and Leeds – were called to the scene and that the incident occurred at about 4.15am.
West Yorkshire Police said: “The M62 is closed Eastbound between Junction 28 Tingley and Jct 29 Lofthouse this morning after a Lorry fire in the early hours. It is likely to be closed through rush hour. Please avoid the area.”