COMMUTERS leaving Wellington were caught in long tailbacks of traffic this morning as the M5 motorway was closed while the town’s firefighters tackled a vehicle which caught alight.

Both Wellington fire engines were sent to the incident on the northbound carriageway of the motorway between junctions 25 and 26.

The fire was so intense that the vehicle, which had managed to reach the hard shoulder of the motorway, was completely destroyed.

Police closed the motorway for a short time while the incident was ongoing, which caused massive tailbacks on traffic on roads around Wellington for some time afterwards.

The incident happened at about 8.15 am.

A Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service spokesperson said: “Fire control received calls to reports of a fire on the M5 northbound carriageway between junctions 26 and 25.

“Two fire engines from Wellington were mobilised to the incident.

“On arrival, crews confirmed this to be a vehicle on the hard shoulder, well alight.

“Crews extinguished the fire using two breathing apparatus wearers and one hose reel jet.

“The vehicle was completely destroyed by fire.”

It was the second vehicle fire dealt with by Wellington firefighters on the motorway near junction 26 in just over two weeks.

In the earlier incident, which was on the southbound side, a car was completely destroyed on the hard shoulder.