Driver hailed a 'hero' after Exmouth road sweeper fire

Damaged road sweeper in Exmouth EDDC

The road sweeper was completely destroyed after the fire in Exmouth - Credit: EDDC

The driver of a road sweeper which was destroyed after bursting into flames in Exmouth has been left 'shaken' but unharmed - and hailed a hero.

The vehicle, owned by East Devon District Council (EDDC), caught fire at just after 6am on Sunday morning (December 19).

Now, EDDC has said the driver was left 'unharmed, although a little shaken' after the incident, which happened as he completed his usual Strand sweeping route.

To minimise the possible danger to passers-by and buildings, he had the presence of mind to drive the vehicle into the middle of the Strand, which is where it promptly burst into flames, and the fire service was called to put out the fire, an EDDC spokesperson said.

"We are very thankful that the driver was unharmed and was so quick thinking to drive the vehicle into a safer place, away from passers-by, putting his own safety at risk in the moments before the sweeper was overtaken by the fire," they said.

"He was the hero of the day"

The Strand in Exmouth. Picture: Simon Horn.

The Strand in Exmouth. Picture: Simon Horn. - Credit: Archant

EDDC’s duty officer took steps to cordon off the burnt out sweeper, after the fire service deemed it safe, and has used spill kits to try and absorb oil which has leaked from the vehicles hydraulics, they said.

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The council has now arranged collection of the vehicle and will then complete a clean-up, including removal of any oil residue.

The EDDC spokesperson added: "We will begin an investigation with our health and safety team along with our insurers to determine the cause of the fire.

"As a precautionary measure EDDC has also stood down another sweeper of the same make, which we have on the same fleet, until the cause is understood."

The Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service confirmed a crew from Exmouth had responded to the incident.

"We received a 999 call reporting a council-owned road sweeper on fire," they said. "One fire engine was sent and on arrival they confirmed this sweeper was fully involved in fire."

"The sweeper was totally destroyed by fire and the cause was accidental," they added.