National Grid staff safe after coach fire

Photo of the coach fire on the M40 near Warwick on Tuesday July 7.  Courtesy of Warwickshire Fire and Rescue Service.
Photo of the coach fire on the M40 near Warwick on Tuesday July 7. Courtesy of Warwickshire Fire and Rescue Service.

National Grid staff escaped just minutes before a dramatic coach fire which left the M40 closed for hours and the vehicle completely destroyed.

The coach was transporting staff from the company’s Warwick headquarters to Solihull around 5pm on July 7 when issues arose.

A spokeswoman for National Grid said after the driver noticed an engine warning light flashing, he immediately pulled onto the hard shoulder and the coach was evacuated.

Passengers spoke of heat coming from under the seats just before the coach stopped between junctions 15 and 16.

Moments later, the fire started and the vehicle went up in flames, leaving only a burnt out frame after an extensive fire fighting operation.

The spokeswoman said: “There were 21 members of staff travelling on the coach and all were unharmed.

“Fortunately, another of our vehicles heading to Birmingham passed by moments after they were evacuated and it took them away from the roadside and on to Solihull.

“Investigations are now being made by the coach company as to the cause of the fire.”

The M40 northbound was closed until around 8pm leaving traffic backed up for miles.

It was also closed for around an hour in both directions due to the amounts of smoke as firefighters battled to extinguish the blaze.

Warwickshire Fire and Rescue was on scene for several hours following the fire, and the coach was completely destroyed.