One lane northbound on Highway 102 near Millbrook will be closed until the extensive damage caused by a diesel fire is completely repaired, the Department of Transportation said Thursday. 

Geoff MacLellan, Nova Scotia's Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal, could not estimate how long that will take. 

"It's very deep. It looks like the diesel got into multiple layers of the paving itself. Obviously at approximately 30,000 vehicles per day, this is one of the most important and busiest highway stretches in the province," he said.

"With the 102 being shut down even one lane, it'll affect commuters. It'll affect the economy, so we want to make sure we get that fixed as soon as possible."

MacLellan will meet with engineers to determine how quickly that section of road can be rebuilt.

Charred debris melted into the pavement after the fire engulfed a diesel truck on Highway 102 near Millbrook on Wednesday night.

Seniors' home evacuated over explosion risk

On Thursday morning, the Department of Environment assessed the scene. A small amount of fuel leaked, but crews used a berm to keep it from spreading. The department said there is no threat to the environment because almost all the fuel burned during the fire.

Emergency crews left the area late Wednesday night after towing what little remained of the wreckage of a diesel tanker truck that burst into flames.

Police said a truck carrying a "large amount of diesel fuel" caught fire just before 5:10 p.m. The truck was near marker number 94 in the northbound lane.

It's not clear exactly how much diesel fuel was in the truck. The RCMP estimates between 10,000 and 15,000 litres.

A nearby seniors' home was evacuated because of the risk of an explosion. People were also ordered out of some homes and businesses in Millbrook. 

Around 10 p.m. police told evacuees they could return to their homes.

No injuries

The Department of Transportation was at the scene Thursday, setting up pylons and warning signs leading into the area. The only evidence of the fire is debris and foam fire crews used.

The driver of the truck told police he thought he heard a sound, some scraping and some sparks as he was driving along. He pulled over and suddenly his rig was on fire.

No one was injured.