A major tragedy was averted when a truck laden with hydrogen cylinders caught fire on Rara Sahib Road near Payal town in the late hours of Wednesday.
The incident took place at 11 pm. No casualty was reported as there were no vehicles on the road at the time of the incident. The truck heading from Rajpura to Raikot was carrying around 185 cylinders of hydrogen gas.
Such was the intensity of the fire that the trees on the roadsides were destroyed in the flames which were visible from afar.
According to the driver of the truck, the fire started when the vehicle crashed into trees after one of the tires ruptured accidentally. Soon the flames engulfed the whole truck.
The truck driver said that he saved his life after jumping off the truck. He added that the whole truck has been destroyed by the fire.
Nearest fire brigade was 28km away
As the only fire station from the site of the incident was located around 28 kms away, it took the fire brigade at least 20 minutes to reach the spot and control the fire from spreading further.
Sub-fire officer Gagandeep Singh said that a tender of the fire brigade from Khanna was pressed into service. He said that the fire was brought under control using chemical foam. He added that the fire was brought under control within 30 minutes.
Payal, a town located in the Ludhiana district, roughly has a population of 10,000 people, as per the 2011 census and does not have its own fire station.
Sub-divisional magistrate, Payal, Jasleen Kaur said that as it is a small town with weak financial resources, fire tender from Doraha sub-division is generally used in case of fire emergencies.