Fisher-Price toys valued at thousands of dollars were destroyed yesterday after a tractor-trailer caught fire on the Garden State Parkway, police said.

Motorists spotted flames shooting out the back of the truck as it headed north in Passaic County on a stretch of the parkway where trucks are prohibited. After the truck pulled over and the flames were put out, troopers spoke to driver Julio A. Diaz, 48, of Mount Pocono, Pa., said a state police spokesman.

"He had been oblivious to the fire raging behind him," said Sgt. Steven Jones. "He said he was trying to get to New Jersey, unaware that he was already well into the state."

Troopers asked Diaz to take a breath test and then charged him with drunken driving. The truckload of toys, which had been bound for a Toys R Us store in Hunterdon County, was scorched. Investigators believe the fire started in the truck's braking system, Jones said.

- Sam Wood