An East Devon District Council (EDDC) worker had a narrow escape over the weekend after his road sweeper went up in flames on Sunday morning.

The EDDC employee had been going about his regular sweeping round when he noticed something had ignited in the sweeper.

He drove the vehicle away from passers-by and buildings into an open area, which is where it promptly burst into flames.

The fire service was called and quickly extinguished the blaze.

‘We are very thankful that the driver was unharmed and was so quick thinking to drive the vehicle into a safer place, away from passers-by, putting his own safety at risk in the moments before the sweeper was overtaken by the fire. He was the hero of the day,’ said an EDDC spokesperson.

EDDC’s duty officer took steps to cordon off the burnt out sweeper, after the fire service deemed it safe, and used spill kits to try and absorb oil which leaked from the vehicles hydraulics.

The council arranged collection of the vehicle and will then complete a clean-up, including removal of any oil residue.

The EDDC spokesperson added: ‘We will begin an investigation with our health and safety team along with our insurers to determine the cause of the fire.

‘As a precautionary measure EDDC has also stood down another sweeper of the same make, which we have on the same fleet, until the cause is understood.’