A lorry carrying potassium nitrate caught fire / PHOTO: HUGO CORTÉS / VIDEO: SUR

Emergency Plan deactivated after fire in lorry loaded with potassium nitrate forced four-hour closure of A-7 motorway near Rincón de la Victoria

The incident happened at 4.47pm and caused more than five kilometres of traffic jams, with the only alternative route being the old N-340 coastal road

Eugenio Cabezas

A fire in a lorry carrying potassium nitrate forced the A-7 Mediterranean motorway to be closed completely in both directions this Wednesday afternoon, 19 January, at kilometre 254, near Rincón de la Victoria. A column of smoke coming from the vehicle was visible from several kilometres around.

Sources at the Traffic Control Centre in Malaga told SUR that the incident occurred at 4.47pm and that half an hour later it was causing traffic jams of up to five kilometres in both directions. The only alternative route for drivers was along the old N-340 coastal road which goes through Rincón de la Victoria.

The delegate of the Junta de Andalucía in Malaga, Patricia Navarro, activated level one of the Emergency Plan due to the risk of accidents in the transport of dangerous goods by road and rail caused by the incident at 5.35pm but that was lifted at 7.47pm

Potassium nitrate is usually used in the pyrotechnics industry, manufacture of glass, as a medicine, and as a fertiliser. Its gases can cause irritation in the eyes and respiratory tract. However, 112 Andalucía inidicated that there were no reports of personal injuries in the incident.

Highway maintenance crews removed the nitrate that had solidified on the road surface during the blaze, and the motorway was fully reopened to traffic in both directions some four hours after the fire initially broke out.