A tanker truck carrying 5,000 litres of diesel fuel caught fire early Monday morning on a Quebec highway.
The incident occurred at around 5:30 a.m. on Highway 223 in Saint-Basile-Le-Grand, about 40 minutes from downtown Montreal.
A crew of 16 firefighters responded to the call, managing to tame the blaze.
According to the Vallée-du-Richelieu fire department, one of the truck’s tires caught fire and the flames spread to the holding tank.
The truck driver managed to get away from the blaze and was not injured in the incident, according to officials.
“We had to let the fire burn, to burn off the fuel,” said Vallée-du-Richelieu fire department assistant director Sylvain Labrecque.
Officials say they let the fire burn in a controlled fashion, creating a thick plume of smoke to prevent most of the toxic substance from spilling into the nearby Richelieu River.
Urgence-Environnement Québec teams were quickly called to the scene to assess and limit the environmental damage, while certified hazmat teams were tasked with cleaning up the spill.
Material to absorb the remaining fuel was put in the river near the site of the fire to catch any remnants.
Route 223 was closed to traffic to allow emergency services to do their work safely.
— With files from Global’s Brittany Henriques