Heart-stopping video recorded at the scene shows the bales start to smoulder before flaming lumps drop into the road
A giant hay bale load erupted in flames turning an entire lorry into a moving fireball and sending burning grass flying through a quiet suburb.
The heart-stopping video shows the bales start to smoulder and then flaming lumps drop into the road before bursting into a raging inferno that the driver was “lucky to escape”.
John Coleman, from Leighton Buzzard, Beds, captured the chaos unfold as he drove in Everton, Beds, on Thursday at around 3pm.
John, 48, said: “I could smell burning as I was travelling down the road but I couldn’t tell where it was coming from at first – it smelled like a bonfire.
“There were about ten cars between me and the trailer but people started to slowly overtake and get out of the way – that’s when I spotted the flames and the smell got stronger.”
“As I was growing up I saw fires when they burned the fields – but I’ve never seen anything that big before,” John continued.
“When it was fully alight you could feel the heat through the glass, it was like a furnace.”
The clip shows a silver car and a tractor travelling behind the smouldering trailer, before the silver car overtakes.
John says over the footage: “I don’t know if he knows but that load of straw is on fire, yep it’s on fire – flames at the front.
“I wonder if he can see that, he can see it’s on fire? Oh man this is mental.”
The clip then shows the tractor appearing to overtake while blasting his horn in a desperate bid to alert the driver.
John said that cars travelling in the opposite direction could be seen slowing down, beeping their horns and frantically waving at the driver – but he was none-the-wiser and continued driving.
He continued: “The driver was in his own little world, it was only when the tractor carried on blowing his horn and the ratchet straps burned away and the load landed in the road that he spotted it.”
“I couldn’t believe what I was seeing – I just thought ‘wow!'” he added.
“I was really caught up in the moment but was worried about getting too close, at one point in the video I sound like a proper chicken, and then I start swearing.”
He can be heard on the clip saying: “I’ve got to get out of here, I’ve got to get out of here.”
Once the driver realises his load is ablaze he pulls over at the junction of Warden Hill and Sandy Road and leaps out of his seat.
As the bales burn and tumble to the floor John continues to narrate and is heard saying: “Right, it’s alight.”
John reverses the flatbed Hiab crane lorry away from the scene at the same time as the tractor and captured the pyre burning and sending plumes of black smoke high into the air.
A Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue Service spokesman said the brigade was called at 3.03pm and firefighters from Cambridgeshire were on the scene at 3.14pm supported by a water carrier from Kempston.
Crews fought the fire with three water jets and a hose reel using the farmer’s fork-lift to help break up and disperse the hay.
The blaze was finally extinguished two hours later at 5.25pm.
Original source: The Mirror