VINTAGE car enthusiasts were welcomed to Penshurst with a bang on Sunday when three truck tyres exploded after a semi-trailer caught fire.
The car drivers had stopped in the town for lunch during the annual Hamilton Vintage and Veteran Classic Car Club Rally which is held during the Queens Birthday weekend.
A large crowd of residents had gathered to view the historic vehicles when they noticed flames coming from the bottom of a soft-sided semi trailer parked nearby.
The vehicle, which was branded with Snow White logos, was parked at the corner of Bell and French streets, outside the senior citizens' centre.
Resident Tracey Kruger had taken photographs of the vintage cars and was in the newsagency when a local woman ran in searching for the truck driver.
"We headed down there with the shop's extinguisher, but it was quite obviously not going to be enough," Mrs Kruger said.
"We did some checks around the truck for the driver and several men checked the cabin.
"We couldn't find him so we just had to watch the trailer burn for the few minutes it took the Penshurst Fire Brigade to arrive. They were fortunately on hand very quickly."
Mrs Kruger said three tyres burst from the intense heat causing loud explosions as people watched on.
"The whole thing well and truly caught fire very quickly. We really couldn't do much. It was all underneath and you couldn't put it out."
The Country Fire Authority received multiple calls reporting the blaze at 1.15pm.
A spokeswoman said eight volunteers from the Penshurst brigade responded quickly and were able to control the fire in 15 minutes, containing the damage to the rear of the truck.
She said the fire was believed to have been caused when the truck's brakes locked on.
She thanked people who called emergency services. "We'd rather have hundreds of calls than none at all."