Lucky escape for quick-thinking driver

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Cally DupeNorth West Telegraph

The driver of a road train which burst into flames near Auski Roadhouse disconnected the prime mover from the trailer to stop it from exploding, an emergency services spokesman has revealed.

The vehicle, believed to have been laden with rockmelons, caught fire about 5km from the roadhouse and Auski Tourist Village on November 6, sparking a blaze which tore through about 5000ha of bushland either side of Great Northern Highway.

Department of Fire and Emergency Services Pilbara regional manager Craig Goodhill said the driver had had a lucky escape.

“He did a very good job, he disconnected his prime mover from the trailer ... and left the trailers,” he said.

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Emergency services drove hundreds of kilometres to attend the scene, with volunteers from Tom Price, Paraburdoo, Port and South Hedland, and East Pilbara Shire involved in containing the blaze.

A 3km stretch of Great Northern Highway was closed for up to three hours and traffic management was on-site for the next two days while Main Roads handled the clean-up.

Fire - The blaze was started when a road train burst into flames.
Camera IconFire - The blaze was started when a road train burst into flames. Credit: Scott Clay

Shire of Ashburton chief bushfire control officer Morgan James said there was a united front from a range of services.

“We want to thank the truckies and the public for their patience when the road was closed,” he said.

“It’s a reminder at all times of year that fires do impact on roads and highways, and people need to be vigilant.”

Mr James said the roadhouse “couldn’t do enough” to help those involved with fighting the blaze and had provided accommodation, food and support.

The area was deemed to have returned to normal by noon on Wednesday.

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