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Truck fire on Eyre Highway
Monday 25 August 2014 – 1:30 PM
A truck fire on the Eyre Highway in April forced the closure of the only road link between Western Australia and South Australia for 13 hours.
The incident started at 11.40pm on a privately own freight truck, which was carrying a load that included gas cylinders and mixed chemicals.
Travelling on the Eyre Highway, it was 15 kilometres west of the Mundrabilla Roadhouse and 77 kilometres west of Eucla, close to the South Australian border.
Kalgoorlie District Officer Ian Thompson said two volunteers from the Eucla Volunteer Emergency Services, including a local police sergeant, initially responded to the incident, arriving at around 1am.
“Those first on the scene determined more assistance was needed to bring the blaze under control and called for help,” he said.
“They kept the situation under control and monitored traffic until firefighters and Main Roads traffic controllers arrived. Two career firefighters and I were flown into the area to assist.
“All in all, it took around 18 hours until the fire was out completely but the road was safely re-opened early Monday afternoon to allow people through.”
While the truck was completely gutted by the fire, the driver was uninjured.
Goldfields/Midlands Superintendent Trevor Tasker said although it was an unfortunate incident that caused significant delays for those travelling between the states, no one was harmed.
“It was a great effort by all involved to keep people in the area safe and to bring the fire under control,” Trevor said.
The exact cause of the fire was not determined, however Ian said transporting gas cylinders can be potentially hazardous and great care should be taken.
“As gas pressure is high, a ruptured cylinder or valve can cause serious injury or damage. Some gases are very flammable and a leakage can create an explosive atmosphere in a vehicle,” he said.
 
“People transporting potentially hazardous substances also need to make sure that information about what they are carrying is readily available.
 
“What made it difficult for us in this instance was that there was no placarding on the vehicle and no manifest, so there was very little information available about what chemicals were present.”