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Thursday 14 November 2019

Inferno and explosions create traffic chaos on N11

Brendan Farrelly and Garry O'Neill

SQUAD cars blocked off a dual carriageway last night after a 40ft container with flammable material on board erupted into an inferno and sent debris flying across the road.

Gardai moved quickly to set up diversions as emergency crews converged on the scene on the N11 near Newtownmountkennedy in Co Wicklow.

At the height of the massive blaze, which took about two hours to get under control, explosions went off adding to the chaos at the scene.

It is understood the container was carrying plastic sheeting and aluminum as well as liquid stored in plastic containers.

The incident unfolded shortly before 8.30 last night as the artic was being driven along the northbound carriageway towards Dublin. A motorist spotted a fire in the trailer and alerted the driver. He got the artic onto the hard shoulder and unhitched the cab.

But the blaze took hold and it very quickly became major incident as flames shot into the air.

It is understood a number of explosions erupted and debris was reported to have ended up on the southbound carriageway.

Up to 15 emergency vehicles were at the scene.

Huge tail-backs built up in both directions as traffic was diverted away from the area. Fire crews used foam guns to fight the outbreak.

Three hours after the fire began, the container was still smouldering.

Experts will today try to pinpoint the cause of the blaze. The fire was said not to pose a health risk. The southbound carriageway was re-opened late last night.

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