How first responders avoided disaster during truck rollover
FIREFIGHTERS working to contain a potentially explosive fuel tanker leak after a horror M1 crash are being praised for quick thinking in stopping a disaster.
Queensland Fire and Emergency Acting Inspector Michael Brown, the incident controller during a petrol tanker rollover on Saturday, said the incident could have been dire if it wasn't for the actions of those first on scene.
"The first crews on scene would have been under the pump, they had to make sure the driver of the tanker wasn't trapped, when we arrive at any scene, the first thing is rescue," Insp Brown said.
"The initial crews eliminating potential dangers and putting themselves in there to find out that information, while trying to help people, it would have been fairly chaotic for the first couple of crews at least.
"They had to isolate the power supply to that (tanker), the small amount of leak we had in the initial stages had to be addressed to prevent any further dramas.
"The tanker was still intact, but was leaking from valve assemblies, it was all contained, then we started applying foam, because we had a mixed load of diesel and unleaded.
"It was a fully loaded tanker, we are trying to prevent any issues coming from the vapours of the unleaded fuel."
He said it could have been far worse.
"The location of the accident, had it been a different scenario on fire, it would have been fairly hectic, being so close to a shopping centre and sitting above an underpass, it could have been worse.
"We are lucky it didn't fracture the tanker, it made our day a lot easier."
He said it took a lot of resources to make the scene safe, empty the tanker, right the tank, and then clean up and make sure the road was safe for other motorists.
The road reopened about 3.15am on Sunday morning.
Police are still investigating what led to the traffic chaos.
"Initial investigations into the crash suggest a white Holden Rodeo ute attempted to re-enter a lane in front of a truck," a police statement read.
"The ute has clipped the truck causing it to spin and roll into another car, a red Ford Falcon."
Danny Redbard and Jessie Reimers from Brisbane were travelling near the Helensvale exit on the M1 before midday when the cars in front stopped suddenly.
"The brakes locked up and the car swerved into the lane next to us where there happened to be a massive fuel tanker," said Ms Reimers.
"The fuel tanker was going about 80 or 90km/h and ripped off the front of the Ute and I was certain we were 100 per cent going to die, but we kept spinning and then the fuel tanker tipped over.
Ms Reimers and her partner were taken by ambulance to hospital.
"The ambos said if the car had skidded another half a metre we would've been completely cleaned up," she said.
"Half a metre, the difference between life and death, it was so intense. We are very shaken up but otherwise OK."
Police are appealing for anyone with information or dashcam footage. Anyone with information that can assist, should contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.