Truck catches fire on SH7

A crashed truck carrying chemicals has erupted in flames and closed the alternative South Island state highway.

Police Senior Sergeant Paul Reeves said the dangerous goods truck trailer unit was an “inferno” that was “pretty intense” on SH7 in the Lewis Pass.

A Canterbury Transport Operations Centre (CTOC) advisory said the truck had crashed and caught fire about 8.06am.

It is understood the driver has escaped serious injury.

Reeves said the driver had been able to disconnect the truck from the trailer and drive away.

Fire and Emergency New Zealand communications manager Riwai Grace said the blaze was “basically under control” by about 11am.

The crew was looking at how to to clear the scene so the road could be reopened.

Earlier on Friday Grace said firefighters could get “close, but not all the way” to the trailer, to battle the “well involved” blaze 2 kilometres north of Engineer’s Corner.

​”There are chemicals on the vehicle. We’re not 100 per cent sure what those chemicals are.

“Until we know what’s in the air we can’t move forward. The commanders at the scene will make a decision once they know what’s involved.”

Grace said it was possible the attending fire crew would wait for the blaze to burn itself out.

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