The driver of a transport truck that was carrying brand new cars escaped his burning vehicle after it caught fire in Baddeck, N.S., Monday evening.

The RCMP were called to Highway 105 around 9:30 p.m.

Police say the driver noticed mechanical problems with his 18-wheeler and pulled over at a nearby gas station.

“He and his passenger were able to get out of the vehicle before the flames started,” says Const. Eric Latwaitis of Baddeck RCMP. “Shortly after that, the total cab of the truck was engulfed in flames."

It appears the fire started after a fuel leak. Police say quick work by firefighters prevented the flames from spreading to the pumps at the gas station.

“Feeling fortunate that they escaped, when they looked back to see how much damage was done to the vehicle … how quickly it spread and engulfed the truck," says Const. Latwaitis.

The transport truck contained new Hondas and Volkswagens destined for Sydney. Some of the vehicles at the rear of the truck weren’t damaged, but the vehicles at the front of the truck were scorched.

The gas station also sustained damage in the fire and will be closed until further notice.

Police say efforts will be made to determine what can be salvaged and what will be scrapped.

"Probably the first thing they'll be looking at is the fuel, and if fuel like that would have landed on the hot engine. That potentially could have been the point of ignition," says Const. Latwaitis.

Witness Angelo Laporte says the flames could be seen from kilometres away.

"A lot of video taking, a lot of pictures, a lot of people getting really close to the truck," says Laporte.

A section of the highway was shut down for two hours after the incident. The Department of Environment has been notified to prevent any diesel contamination.

Police say the fire isn’t considered suspicious.

With files from CTV Atlantic's Ryan MacDonald.