The Melbourne-based company that owned the truck involved in a massive explosion in Charleville in 2014 has been hit with claims it pay the $527,906 bill to replace two fire trucks and repair a police car.
The Courier Mail reports that the state, which represents the Queensland Fire and Emergency Services and the Queensland Police Service, has sued Kalari Pty Ltd, which owned the Kenworth that exploded after crashing while hauling two semi-trailers and a dolly trailer filled with 53 tonnes of dangerous ammonium nitrate.
Miraculously no one was killed in the fireball, but eight people were injured – some seriously – and it was the second, larger explosion which caused the major damage to the vehicles
In its District Court civil claim, the QFES alleges the prime mover, driven by Tony Eden, caused $392,101 in damage to the emergency vehicles when it hit a guard rail on an approach to a bridge on the Mitchell Highway between Charleville and Cunnamulla, rolled and exploded.
Experts say the second explosion was estimated to be the equivalent of detonating 15 tonnes of TNT, larger than any US non-nuclear weapon used in combat.
It burned so hot that aluminium and copper at the site melted, and the explosion measured 2.1 on the Richter scale.
QFES’s total claim of $527,906 includes $392,101 to replace two fire trucks and repair the police car plus $132,103 in interest dating back to 2014.
One fire truck, the first on the scene at 10.02pm, was valued at $349,647 before it was written off, and the second truck was worth $37,019 before it was irreparably damaged.
The police car required repairs and towing worth $6478.
The State Government alleges Eden – a trucking veteran of 17 years – negligently failed to take care to foresee and avoid the crash, and failed to keep a look out to see the bridge and avoid the crash, and failed to ensure he wasn’t fatigued while driving.
The state alleges Eden started work between 6am and 7am that day and was still driving after 8.45pm when the crash occurred.
The state also claims Kalari Pty Ltd negligently failed to train Eden in safe driving including how to respond to a fire in his truck, and to supervise Eden to ensure his fatigue training was current.
The state alleges Kalari knew Eden had twice previously driven while fatigued.
Kalari has not filed a defence to the claims, and no hearing date has been set.
The previous year, The Courier Mail also report that the state’s Department of Transport and Main Roads and Queensland Rail had sued Kalari for $11.8 million to cover the repair bill for damage to the road and railway.