VIDEO: Sheffield M1 blaze driver’s lucky escape

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The driver of a car transporter which went up in flames on a South Yorkshire motorway has spoken of his lucky escape.

Steven Harrison, aged 51, of Upperthorpe in Sheffield, was taking 10 secondhand Peugeots to a car auction in Leeds when the transporter he was driving caught fire.

Steven Harrison

Steven Harrison

All 10 vehicles onboard ended up engulfed in flames.

VIDEO: Press the play button to see dramatic video of the blaze filmed by passing Star reader Mark Jones.

Steven, who works for Quinn’s Car Transport Ltd in Kiveton Park, Rotherham, said within 10 minutes of him spotting smoke his cab and three of the cars onboard had caught fire - and within another 10 minutes the entire transporter was a fireball.

The experienced haulage driver said: “I had just pulled away from Woodall Services and after about 100 metres I spotted smoke.

“I assumed it was the brake or that there had been a blow-out but there was nowhere to stop because the hard shoulder was being used as the inside lane of the motorway because of roadworks, so I just had to stop where I was.

“I got out and had a look and the archway of the axle and tyre were on fire and there were flames shooting up the side of the cab.

“I got my fire extinguisher out but it didn’t touch the flames so I dialled 999 and moved away.

“I couldn’t believe how quickly the fire took hold.”

He said vehicles started exploding on the transporter before firefighters arrived to douse the flames.

The motorway was closed in both directions - causing chaos on surrounding roads as motorists were forced to find alternative routes to avoid the danger.

Steven, who was back at work yesterday, said two fire engines were initially sent to tackle the blaze but a third had to be dispatched because of the amount of water needed to douse the flames.

The blaze caused such severe damage to the road, highways engineers had to resurface it before the motorway could be re-opened.

Steven said: “It appears that the suspension on the back axle had moved and had been rubbing on the inside of the tyre causing friction and heat, which then set the tyre on fire.

“I was surprised at how quickly the fire took hold.

“I dialled 999 as soon as I saw the flames but it was difficult for the engines to get through all the motorway traffic at first.

“I moved away from the fire and when cars started exploding I realised how lucky I had been.

“I have never seen anything like it before.”