M74 incident: Edinburgh man rescues lorry driver from burning vehicle following motorway crash

An Edinburgh man has been hailed as a hero after pulling a lorry driver to safety the moment his vehicle crashed and set on fire.

Tuesday, 23rd March 2021, 6:47 pm

Lee Metcalf, also a lorry driver, was travelling on the M74 towards Biggar when he noticed a truck carrying livestock crashed on the other side of the motorway near Poniel at about 3pm yesterday.

The 46-year-old pulled over onto the hard shoulder before turning on his emergency lights and running across the road to rescue the driver from the burning vehicle.

Speaking about the incident Mr Metcalf said: “I just had to act quickly the minute I saw what was going on.

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Picture of the scene where the lorry crashed on the M74 at Poniel, near Abington and an inset of Lee Metcalf who pulled the driver to safety. Picture of the scene: M74 Traffic Reports

"As I was getting the driver out of the lorry I could hear loud bangs and the vehicle was already up in flames.

"All I remember thinking in the moment was ‘oh God, I just have to get him out quick’. The lorry was already on fire and it was going to explode.

“It was really a right place at the right time moment and I am so relieved I got there in time.”

Mr Metcalf managed to pull the driver from one of the lorry’s front doors then dragged him to a safe distance from the flames where the pair sat together until emergency services arrived.

Lee Metcalf, from Edinburgh, who rescued a driver from a burning lorry after it crashed on the M74.

"It all happened so quickly,” he said.

"But the main thing is that he’s okay now.”

It is understood the driver was taken to hospital to be treated for his injuries – the extent of which remain unconfirmed – and the livestock were removed from the burning vehicle shortly after the crash.

Mr Metcalf, a father-of-one, has since become a hit online with witnesses taking to social media to praise him for his heroic actions.

A picture of the scene when a lorry crashed and caught fire on the M74 near Abington picture: M74 Traffic Reports

Craig Mckernan, who shared an image of the crash online, said to Edinburgh Evening News: “He [Lee Metcalf] is so, so humble.

“The guy is an absolute hero.

“I am a fellow lorry driver and what he did makes me so proud.”

Friend Kent Hoffman said Mr Metcalf has “a heart of gold” and praised him for “saving the driver’s life.”

Responding to the comments, Mr Metcalf said: “I wouldn’t exactly call myself a hero, I just did what I thought was right.

"I went into work the next morning and my boss said, ‘have you seen social media, you’ve become a real hit’.

"I’d like to think that if I got into that situation then someone would be there to do the same for me.”

The road where the crash happened was closed in both directions for about five hours as emergency services dealt with the incident, with parts of it remaining shut to traffic as repairs to the carriageway took place overnight.

A police spokesman said: “We were called around 2.50pm on Monday, 22 March, following the report of an overturned lorry catching fire on the M74 Northbound at junction 12, near Abington.

"Emergency services attended and the M74 was closed in both directions. The Southbound carriageway was reopened around 7.40pm but northbound is expected to remain closed overnight for carriageway repairs to take place.”

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