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Oil Tanker Fire M1, Mansfield - Fire Investigation Outcome

An investigation into the cause of an oil tanker fire on the M1 near Mansfield has concluded the most likely cause to be accidental due to engine damage.

Firefighters from across Derbyshire were called to the fire on the M1 southbound between junction 28 and 29 at 10.32 hours on Tuesday 22 August.

Colleagues from Nottinghamshire Fire and Rescue Service, South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue, Derbyshire Constabulary, National Highways, the Environment Agency and East Midlands Airport Fire Service also supported the large response which included: Six fire engines, two water carriers, three foam units and one environmental protection unit.

The driver of the vehicle was out prior to the arrival of fire crews.

Residents in Tibshelf, Mansfield and the surrounding areas were asked to keep their windows and doors shut during the incident due to the smoke plume. Motorists on the M1 and in the local area were also asked of keep their car windows closed.

The M1 was closed in both directions well into the afternoon for the safety of motorists, with the southbound carriageway not reopening fully until the following morning.

At the time of the fire, the tanker had been transporting used transformer oil for recycling. The cab of the vehicle suffered significant fire damage while the tanker itself maintained its structural integrity. However due to heat damage to some of the valves on the tanker, a significant amount of the contents escaped and became involved in the fire. 

After tackling the fire, firefighters worked to bring the contents of the tanker to a safe temperature, so that it could be safely transferred to an alternative tanker for removal.

The affected tanker was then recovered from the M1, with final fire crews leaving the site at 21.15 hours when the scene was handed back into the care of Highways.

The nature of the incident and the contents of the tanker posed a significant danger to firefighters and members of the public due to the potential for the tanker structure to fail. This brought the risk of an explosion and/or a running fire because of leaking fuel. An explosion could have also resulted in flying debris. These factors were a consideration in closing the M1 for safety reasons.

Furthermore, as the fire resulted in a substantial smoke plume, this added a contamination risk for fire crews. This risk comes from combustible particles and fire gases within the smoke plume. This was another factor in our warning and informing message to residents and motorists to keep windows and doors shut during the incident. 

Derbyshire crews attending the fire were from Chesterfield, Clay Cross, Ascot Drive, Staveley, Belper, Bolsover, Ashbourne, Alfreton, Long Eaton, Heanor, Dronfield and Crich.

Over border support came from Nottinghamshire’s Worksop, Ashfield, Edwinstowe and Stockhill, as well as South Yorkshire’s Tankersley stations.

Oil tanker fire on the M1 Tuesday 22nd August