A TRUCK was destroyed on Tuesday night after catching fire near Stratford.
The Dyers Transport driver noticed mechanical difficulties about a kilometre outside of town at 7.40pm, and managed to come to a stop and evacuate as the truck caught fire.
Despite being taken to hospital for observation, the driver was released that night unharmed.
The Princes Highway was closed in both directions as firefighters from Stratford, Sale, and Maffra extinguished the blaze, and later removed debris from the road.
Dyers director David Dyer said the incident was unusual as the truck was relatively new, and experts were investigating.
“Luckily no one got hurt,” he said.
CFA District 10 operations manager Allan Rankin said the fire was under control by 8.20pm, and the highway was reopened by 3am.
“The driver did a great job to recognise what was going on and then to pull the truck up in the safest location he could, short of the bridge over the Avon River,” he said.
Witness David Mallen who was staying at the Stratford Caravan Park, said there were massive explosions, with trees instantly catching fire.
“We had no idea what it was,” he said.
“We were walking back from the hotel when we heard booms like ordnance.”
Police said the explosions were likely tyres popping, and no other vehicles were involved in the incident.