Tanker goes up in fireball

A TANKER carrying
45,000 litres of fuel
crashed and caught fire
near Daylesford yes
terday morning.
The driver lost con
trol and the tanker
overturned on a tight
right-hand bank on the
Daylesford-Ballan Rd
at Sailors Falls.
The driver managed
to escape the wreckage
unhurt as flames leapt
50m into the air.
Eighty volunteer
firefighters from eight
fire brigades were
needed to tackle the
fierce blaze.
The accident
brought down power
lines disrupting supply
to about 1700 homes,
closed the road for four
hours and threatened
one house with fire.
Peter Giacometti
and his wife May were
woken at about 4.30am
when the truck over
turned.
"I heard the truck
rolling and then there
was this big whoosh,"
Mr Giacometti said.
"Then all the tyres
started banging -
there must have been
20 separate bangs -
before the power pole
exploded.
"I looked out of the
front window and all I
could see was flames,"
Mr Giacometti said.
The B-double truck
was still burning three
hours later as
firefighters made the
decision to allow the
fire to burn itself out.
Daylesford Fire
Brigade lieutenant
Alistair Grant said
firefighters used a
grader to build an
earth break around the
tanker to prevent the
fire from spreading.
"We made the de
cision early on to let it
burn out for environ
mental reasons and our
main priority was pro
tecting the house," Mr
Grant said.
"The house has suf
fered some smoke and
heat damage but is
otherwise undamaged.
"Firefighters also
managed to prevent
fuel from the tanker
spilling into a nearby
creek.
"It's certainly the
biggest fuel fire that
I've ever dealt with."
A powerline was
damaged in the fire,
disrupting supply to
about 1700 homes in
Leonards Hill, Sailors
Falls and Spargo
Creek.
A police spokesman
said the tanker driver
received minor injur
ies and was taken by
ambulance to Dayles
ford Hospital.
He was discharged
about 9.30am yester
day after undergoing
observation.
Police said the
tanker driver from Tri-
Tanker Services in
Geelong - a BP distrib
utor - was travelling to
Swan Hill carrying a
mixture of petrol and
diesel.
VicRoads yesterday
defended the safety re
cord of that section of
the Ballan-Daylesford
Rd.
VicRoads regional
manager for Western
Victoria Lance
Midgley said the acci
dent was being investi
gated, but believed the
road remained safe for
B-double vehicles.
"Certainly, we'll look
at that accident as we
do with every accident
on the road network
and see if there's any
deficiencies in that
particular area and
take action to correct
it if needed," he said.
Hepburn Shire Coun
cil Mayor Warren
Moloney has arranged
a safety meeting on the
crash site for tomor
row at 10.30am.
Yesterday's tanker
crash brought back
memories of a similar
accident in Ballarat
last January.
Fifty-six-year-old
Geelong truck driver
Robin Scott was killed
when a fuel tanker
carrying 70,000 litres of
diesel crashed and ex
ploded on Melbourne
Rd, east of Ballarat.
The accident caused
a 20-metre high fire
ball and cut power to
more than 2000 homes.
A coronial inquiry
into the incident is
still underway.

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