Fire fighters from Staffordshire Fire and Rescue were alerted to the blaze on the M6, between junctions 14 and 15 at 5:13am. Crews from Stafford, Stone and Eccleshall attended the fire, along with three fire engines.
The lorry was carrying tins of drinks powder – which were initially reported to be tins of dog food – that began exploding in the fire. The vehicle was also carrying chocolate eggs, malt grain and white goods.
The fire was mostly out by 9:50am, prompting the departure of the Stone and Eccleshall crews. The Stafford crew remained to damp down the site.
Central Motorway Police Group’s Twitter page posted an image of the fire at 7am, saying tins were “still exploding”.
A Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service spokesman told FoodManufacture.co.uk: “This fire is being treated as accidental ignition due to a possible fault in the system and is believed to have begun in the engine area. Due to the severity of damage we cannot be more specific than this.”
Nobody was injured in the blaze, but the driver – who was not in the vehicle at the time – was treated for shock.
The Staffordshire Fire Twitter page uploaded a video of the clean-up operation after the fire was put out.
The northbound carriageway was closed, causing heavy congestion on surrounding routes. Road closures and recovery work was managed by the Highways England.
Highways England operations manager Colin Lowther said: “We’ve been working hard to get the carriageway opened and the debris from the fire cleared as quickly as possible.
“We’ve opened lanes two and three but, in addition to the debris on the road, the fire has caused damage to the surface in lane one – which will need resurfacing tonight.”
Meanwhile, a blaze at a meat processing plant in Scotland has closed roads in the area, creating traffic chaos for motorists and drivers of heavy goods vehicles (HGVs).