Hay hazard sparks inferno

By Kristin Edge

Rural vehicle owners need to step up on equipment maintenance after a truck was engulfed in flames, says a senior firefighter.

Firefighters who attended the incident near Whareora hall near the Harris Rd junction on Thursday about 5pm said a lack of maintenance had sparked the fire.

The driver stopped the truck and tried to put out a small fire. But it soon spread and engulfed the truck.

Whangarei Fire Service Senior Station Officer Ron Wilson said a buildup of vegetation, including pieces of hay, between the cab and the trailer unit had become flammable.

"When vegetation accumulates in and around tractors or trucks it becomes a fire risk. It usually ignites when they are away from a water supply to extinguish it. Rural people need to maintain their equipment," Mr Wilson said.

In the latest fire, the 12-tonne truck was already engulfed in flames when Whangarei firefighters arrived, with the tyres and cab burning.

Mr Wilson said the truck was next to a line of trees leading to a house.

A team worked on dousing the hedgerow, while another team set up a portable pump to draw water from a nearby swimming pool.

He said in another incident on Kokopu Block Rd last year, the tractor caught fire due to dry matter sparking on the engine.

- Northern Advocate

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