2010 June: Millmerran (Qld) Highway Chemical Explosion

Highway chemical explosion: local homes to be checked

June 9 2010 (Brisbane Times)

Fire officers will tour houses in the Millmerran region today to check water tanks and roofs for hazardous chemicals after an explosion on the back of a truck this morning.

The accident happened when a truck carrying 20-litre drums of pesticides and herbicides caught fire and exploded on the Gore Highway at Millmerran around 1.30am today.

A two-kilometre exclusion zone has been set up around the site, with a local family evacuated from their home.

Incident controller with the Queensland Fire and Rescue Service, Eddie Lacko said the highway would remain closed while they awaited resources coming from Brisbane.

“We’re getting a plan together to decontaminate the site and remove the trailer as well as the chemicals involved,” Mr Lacko said.

“The chemicals are all mixed together so we are not sure exactly what there is.

“I have a scientific officer en route to provide us with some advice before we move in to clean up.

“I couldn’t give an accurate timeframe of when this will happen.”

Mr Lacko said there was no longer an airborne chemical threat but some risk still remained.

“There are a couple of houses in the vicinity where I will send some officers to do some monitoring of water tanks and roofs after smoke fallout from last night,” he said.

Ken Brudell, owner of the local Millmerran Rams Head Hotel said residents had been given little information about the accident.

“There were a couple of explosions at around 1.30am and then the fire brigade charged out,” Mr Brundell said.

“There’s been a horrible chemical burn smell through town all morning.”

Firefighters wearing protective gear and breathing apparatus extinguished the blaze around 5am.

The truck driver escaped without injury after he unhitched the trailer which was subsequently destroyed in the explosion.