A truckie has been praised for his quick-thinking actions, after a B-double carrying six tonnes of aerosol spray cans burst into flames, destroying the truck and trailers.
Fire & Rescue NSW said the driver noticed smoke billowing from his trailers while travelling south of Ballina. He was able to pull the B-double over onto the side of the highway and call for help before the fire quickly engulfed the entire truck.
Fire and Rescue NSW acting inspector Price Conlon said the driver was able to provide detailed information about what was on board.
“The fact that he managed to pull the thing over to the side of the road safely and managed to grab the manifest, which was the key to the whole safe operation,” Acting Inspector Conlon said.
“It was a very dangerous situation when they first arrived with lots of paint cans exploding and quite an intense fire.”
The B-double caught fire in the south-bound lanes of the Pacific Highway outside Pimlico, south of Ballina, just before 11.30pm on Thursday January 5.
According to reports, the truck was carrying a mixed load of goods, including aerosol cans, cane mulch and mosquito coils.
The aerosol spray cans caused large explosions at the scene.
Fire and Rescue NSW says the truck driver and another motorist made it to safety as the fire took hold.
Three Fire and Rescue NSW (FRNSW) trucks from Ballina and a Hazardous Materials (HAZMAT) appliance from Goonellabah were joined by four Rural Fire Service tankers, NSW Police and NSW Ambulance at the scene.
The firefighters extinguished the truck fire and numerous spot fires caused by the exploding cans.
They also deployed an absorbent barrier to protect the environment from liquid run-off and decanted 400 litres of diesel fuel from the burning rig, which was destroyed in the fire.
Traffic flow was limited to one lane northbound during the operation, which took three-and-a-half hours.