A lorry carrying tons of fizzy drinks exploded into flames on the M6, causing chaos on the motorway for more than 10 hours.
The Eddie Stobart 42-tonne lorry was gutted in the blaze, which happened on the northbound carriageway near Ikea just after 3pm yesterday.
The northbound carriageway between junction 7 for Great Barr and junction 9 for Wednesbury had to be closed by police as four fire crews tackled the fire.
Schoolchildren at Wood Green and Stuart Bathurst schools nearby watched smoke billow into the sky and heard large explosions as the lorry burnt out.
The motorway was shut entirely for two hours, but lanes were closed throughout the night and it was not until 1am that it fully reopened.
The inferno caused hours of tailbacks, with queues stretched back past junction 6 for Birmingham. It also had a knock-on effect on the A461 towards Walsall and Wednesbury throughout the evening.
The driver of the lorry escaped the fire unhurt, said West Midland Ambulance Service. West Midlands Fire service communication’s officer Jeremy Sharpe said four fire crews attended the blaze.
He said: “The driver was uninjured as a result of this incident, which was reported to us as a blow out. The driver was safely able to manoeuvre to the vehicle to the hard shoulder.”