Fire engine had to turn back because of gridlocked motorway

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Fire crews rushed to a van blaze on the M1 today – but one engine had to turn back after getting stuck in the traffic.

A watch commander has spoken of his frustration at not being able to reach his destination because of gridlock.

Wakefield and Ossett stations received a call about a carpeting van which had burst into flames at the slip road between junction 39 and 40.

A male driver noticed his vehicle was smoking, and had to flee after flames broke out.

But because of ongoing roadworks there is no hard shoulder, leaving the crews stuck.

Back-up was called from Dewsbury, who – after racing to the scene contraflow – assisted the Ossett crew in extinguishing the blaze which had ripped through the Vauxhall van.

The man was treated for a small burn on his foot.

Watch commander at Wakefield Fire Station, Richard Hames, said: “It took us 55 minutes from start to finish and we didn’t squirt any water.

“It was more frustrating than anythinig else, there was no way for the public to move out the way.

“If it was a car accident with people trapped, we would’ve had to rely on mobilising other pumps. We are looking at engines from quite a distance.”

He appealed for drivers to “take a little bit extra care because it might be that emergency services are having difficulty getting to people in time.”

Northbound and southbound carriageways were temporarily closed, causing gridlock.