PARAMEDICS got a shock after the ambulance they were travelling in caught fire.

The ambulance was travelling along the eastbound M65 in the early hours of today when smoke started coming from the engine.

The two paramedics, who had set off from Darwen to a call in Rishton shortly before 3.30am, pulled on the hard shoulder of the motorway between junctions six and seven, and called the fire brigade as the smoke from under the bonnet turned into flames.

A crew from Accrington attended the scene and spent an hour putting out the fire, which left the front of the ambulance severely damaged.

A spokesperson said: "Our major concern was the fact that there were oxygen cylinders in the ambulance, but we managed to put out the fire without the flames spreading."

An ambulance service spokesperson said: "The ambulance was on its way to a category B - serious but not life threatening - call out when the engine started to smoke.

"The paramedics pulled over and notified HQ immediately, and another ambulance was deployed to Rishton straight away.

"The ambulance is currently being looked at by our engineers to find the cause of the fire."