News

Video reveals truck explosion devastation

UPDATE: Firefighters from the Darling Downs and Lockyer Valley have flown to Charleville to replace those injured in a chemical truck explosion.

Queensland Fire and Emergency Service Toowoomba officer Inspector Warren Buckley was yesterday among emergency service personnel at the scene of Friday's explosion.

A specialist team of firefighters worked to map the damage of the blast.

"They are walking around through the scrub and off the sides of the road to try and find any debris, regardless of the size, to try and find actual blast patterns which occur with these types of incidents," Insp. Buckley said.

"That will allow them to conduct further investigations and further planning for other such incidents."

A B-double carrying 52 tonnes of ammonium nitrate exploded after crashing on the Mitchell Hwy, about 30km south of Charleville.

"This is certainly not an every day occurrence for us in the Queensland Fire and Emergency Services and particularly for a small town like Charleville.

"The road is missing and the rail is missing so that is going to have a dramatic impact on the local community for many months."

Two firefighters injured in the explosion yesterday remained in Toowoomba Hospital in a stable condition.

The 33-year-old driver of the chemical truck remained in Royal Brisbane Hospital in a critical condition. 

"We've got staff here now from Toowoomba, Oakey, Chinchilla and currently flying in we've got additional teams coming from the Lockyer Valley, Pittsworth and Toowoomba as well.

"We are bringing in additional staff to try and maintain coverage in the town."

A new fire truck is also set to arrive in the district in the next couple of days.

Insp. Buckley said the explosion caused a hole about 5m deep, about 12m long and about 15m across.

"We've had reports of debris up to 1.5km (away)."

EARLIER: A driver was snatched from the cab of an overturned truck just moments before it exploded in a fireball that injured eight people near Charleville.

Four firefighters, one police officer and two passers-by who stopped to help were among the wounded.

The 33-year-old truck driver from Mackay is fighting for his life at the Royal Brisbane Hospital after receiving life-threatening burns and head injuries.

The truck was carrying 50 tonnes of fertiliser when it crashed about 30km south of Charleville on the Mitchell Hwy on Friday night.

>> Region sends emergency backups as explosion's cost counted

The scene of an explosion caused after a truck carrying fertiliser crashed and rolled on Cunnamulla Rd between Charleville and Wyandra. Photo Contributed
The scene of an explosion caused after a truck carrying fertiliser crashed and rolled on Cunnamulla Rd between Charleville and Wyandra. Photo Contributed Contributed

Fuel leaked into the volatile ammonium nitrate load and caused an explosion which destroyed two nearby fire trucks, shredded surrounding trees and turned a bridge into rubble.

Residents 30km away in Charleville heard the blast.

The truck was from Kalari Transport, carrying chemicals from Orica's Gladstone plant.

On Sunday afternoon police were on site and said they expected the exclusion zone to stay in place until about Wednesday.

QPS Media

Residents 30km away in Charleville heard the blast.

"A big explosion rattled our houses here in town about midnight and local reports say that a gas truck crashed and that a fire engine caught alight. Helicopters flying over. Pray for them all," Madeline Cobb wrote on Facebook.

Geo Science Australia received about half a dozen reports of a suspected earthquake.

Two firefighters remained in Toowoomba Hospital. Another two were discharged from Charleville Hospital on Saturday.

Emergency services workers have been praised for their heroic efforts.

"As I understand the auxiliaries performed a snatch and grab (of the driver), they witnessed certain fire activities which gave the indication they needed to get out as soon as they could," chief superintendent for the south west region Lindsay Hackett said.

A fire truck caught up in the explosion.
A fire truck caught up in the explosion. Contributed

"They obviously risked their lives to do the snatch and grab of the driver."

Supt Hackett said the initial emergency call gave no indication the truck was loaded with dangerous chemicals.

The loss of two fire trucks is a major blow for Charleville firefighters.

However, Supt Hackett said back-up vehicles and staff had been deployed to make up the shortfall.

"Obviously these (Charleville) guys have gone through quite a traumatic experience," he said.

"The firefighters will be housed in motels in Charleville and they will be the firefighting force out in Charleville for the next few days.

"That way it will give those guys who were involved in the incident some deserved time off."

Topics:  charleville, editors picks, explosion, truck driver




White whale Migaloo pictured near Lady Elliott

FILE: Migaloo is expected to cruise past Gladstone this weekend.

All-white humpback whale Migaloo returns

VIDEO: Crash pilot tells neighbour what he had for breakfast

Plane crash at Raglan

The injured pilot has been taken to Rockhampton Hospital

Where exactly is Migaloo right now?

QPWS rangers have been keeping an eye out for Migaloo since he was seen near Fraser Island on Friday.

The minister has responded to questions about Migaloo's whereabouts

Latest deals and offers

Elm Street is far from a nightmare

Elm street's new album is making waves. Photo Contributed

Elm Street talks about drumming studios, power metal and the album.

What's on the small screen this week

Keira Maguire and Richie Strahan in a scene from The Bachelor.

SEVEN gears up for the Rio Olympics while The Bachelor continues.

Drowning Pool gig review at Max Watt's

Drowning Pool played Brisbane with A Breach of Silence and She Cries Wolf at the Max Watt's House of Music.

Drowning Pool prove that 'bodies' hit the floor when they play

#SaveMarinaJoyce: How ISIS theory took over youtube channel

One young Youtuber accidentally gave rise to a conspiracy theory

Queensland's $1 town goes under the hammer today

The township of Yelarbon is up for sale.

Unprecedented auction of town's business centre with no reserve

Is Elliott Heads the next Byron Bay?

Could Elliott Heads be the next Byron or Noosa?

Work starts on $15M Caloundra apartment building

Turning the first sod at the Aqua View Apartments site in Kings Beach are (from left) husband-and-wife developers Alex Yuan and Stella Sun with construction company Tomkins director Mike Tomkins and Councillor Tim Dwyer.

Developers excited about addition to Kings Beach skyline

72-year-old Coast developer set to start new project

GREEN LIGHT: The Cosmopolitan has been approved for development at Cotton Tree.

Meet the Canberran set to deliver another chapter for Coast suburb

Plans revealed for 1500-lot 'master-planned community'

Precinct will be bounded by Boundary St and Shoesmith Rd

Ecco Ripley sales run sparks prime release

MOVING IN: Sekisui House has announced the release of more residential blocks at Ecco Ripley.

Sekisui House is preparing to unveil more land at Ecco Ripley