A dramatic blaze to a digger perched on a low loader outside a new retail development in South Shields, led to an emergency response by 999 crews.
Shocked workmen were ordered back from the car park at the former B&Q store in Secretan Way, while firefighters tackled the blaze.
They spent around 30 minutes dousing the fire, which is believed to have been sparked by an electrical fault.
No-one was in the vehicle’s cab when it burst into flames at around 8.10am.
A witness said: "It caught alight for no apparent reason.
"There were a lot of workmen on site – luckily, no one was inside the cab at the time or walking past.
"Everyone just stood well back and waited for the fire brigade to arrive.
"Firemen spent about half an hour putting out the flames and ensuring that the vehicle was safe.
"It was taken away on the same low loader, but it looked beyond repair."
The B&Q store closed last year and is being redeveloped by another retailer.