Traffic chaos was caused after a giant turbine caught fire at the Nissan factory in Washington.
The 55 metre-high turbine began burning just after noon yesterday, and the nearby A19 and A1231 were closed to protect motorists from falling debris.
Three fire crews attended the blaze and after 20 minutes the 23-metre blades dropped to the ground, still on fire.
Station Officer Tony Brown, from Washington fire station, said: “When we got there, the fire was right at the top of the turbine and we decided it was too dangerous to try to stop it when it was so high up and that we should make the area safe and let it burn out.
“We closed the A19 and A1231 as a precaution. The blades of the turbine were still turning when we got there and their was quite a fire already.
“We knew the blade would come down eventually, but these things are meant to catch the wind so we weren’t sure how far it would fly.
“All we knew was that, if it did, it would cause a great deal of damage to whatever it hit.” The turbine is one of six which together generate 5% of the plant’s electricity.
A Nissan spokesman said: “The turbine which caught fire had been suffering from an oil leak and had been undergoing repairs earlier in the day.
“Engineers thought they had fixed the problem, but when they tested the turbine it caught fire.
“No-one was hurt and a full investigation has been launched.”
24 December 2005
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