A Nebo property owner heard the massive explosion as a B-double fuel tanker erupted in a fireball right outside her house – she immediately leapt to action, rallying neighbours in case the blaze spread to a nearby cattle paddock.

Kaiz-Anne Bryan was at her home that fronts the Peak Downs Highway about 10.40pm Friday, March 29 when she heard a loud explosion coming from the heavy vehicle that was carrying 50,000 litres of fuel.

“And I thought, oh my god what was that,” she told this publication on Saturday morning.

She went outside and heard “something screeching”.

“The truck went past me … they had the brakes locked on,” she said.

As the truck with two trailers crawled by her home “I could see the flames from the back trailer”, she said.

Then she heard the second explosion and called triple-0.

Ms Bryan said Nebo resident heard the first explosion from up to 10km away.

“It was a massive explosion,” she said, adding the back of the vehicle was just “engulfed” by the fire.

As soon as she was off the phone with emergency services, Ms Bryan said she rang the neighbouring properties to let them know about the fire. By this time the driver had unhitched the front of the truck from the two trailers and continued to Nebo township.

“It was pretty scary,” she said.

Five fire crews were onsite containing the blaze as Ms Bryan and other neighbouring property owners on either side of the highway were on high alert with water trucks and dozers in case the fire spread to their homes.

The B-double with two trailers understood to be carrying about 50,000 litres of diesel had been heading towards Nebo and was just passing the Nebo junction when the fire sparked in the back trailer. It is understood this might have been because of a brake failure.

‘We’re so lucky it was a still night’

Ms Bryan said the trailers had been stopped in the middle of an overtaking lane, but nearby was a property with a herd of cattle in a paddock right up against the road.

There were major concerns if the fire spread “it would have wiped everything out”, she said.

“Everything is so dry out here,” she added.

“We could see the fire going on on either side of the road.”

Luckily the flames only travelled a short distance down the fence line, “it didn’t spread”, and about 1am “it began drizzling”, she said.

“We’re so lucky it was a still night … even the smoke was going straight up,” Ms Bryan said.

She had lived at her Nebo property for about 2.5 years and this is the first time something like this had occurred.

Emergency crews were called about 11pm Friday with some fire crews and water trucks arriving from Mackay, about 40 mins away.

A Queensland Fire and Emergency Service spokeswoman said reports indicated the whole truck caught fire, with the rear trailer becoming fully engulfed first before it spread to the rest of the vehicle.

The driver was able to disconnect the truck from the trailers.

“It did burn for a significant amount of time,” the fire spokeswoman said, adding as of this morning “the fire was burnt out and there was no diesel left”.

The crews then worked to cool the remains of the truck and the roadway.

Fire crew were still working late Saturday morning to cool the charged remains of the wreckage so it could be towed from the highway.

Damaged roadway will need repair

A Queensland Police Service spokesman said heavy vehicles were diverted through the Sarina Range, while light vehicles were able to go around the site at times overnight.

Work will now start to assess and repair the roadway, which appeared to be damaged from the blaze, the police spokesman said.

That section of the highway could be closed for some time.

A Queensland Ambulance Service spokeswoman said paramedics were called just before 11pm and finished at the incident about 6am.

She said they were at the site for that long because paramedics were supporting the firefighters.

The ambulance spokeswoman said a fuel tanker rolled and caught fire and there were no patients from the incident.

This latest crash in the Isaac region follows a tragedy in Maryborough in which three men died on March 22.

Truck driver Daniel Stuart, Maryborough’s Sidney Marstella and Tim Hickey were identified as the men who perished.

That fireball crash, in which a car that failed to give way and caused two trucks to collide on the Bruce Hwy at the Walker St intersection, meant police were not able to determine if potentially more lives had been lost in the collision.

Extracted in full from:  https://www.townsvillebulletin.com.au/news/queensland/mackay/bdouble-carrying-diesel-engulfed-in-fire-at-nebo/news-story/292c7201ebd28ce6aaa9289c014512fe