Tanker blast in Queensland

Paramedics gave six employees at Boral Asphalt?s plant at Narangba, north of Brisbane, the all clear on Tuesday afternoon.

There were 21 workers on site when the explosion took place, including six in the immediate vicinity of the blaze, but none were injured. Several police and ambulance vehicles as well as 25 fire fighters in four fire trucks rushed to the scene.

Acting Inspector Jeff Barker, from Burpengary Police Command, said crews were able to see large volumes of smoke en-route and the tanker was well engulfed when they first arrived. “There had actually been an explosion in the bitumen tank, which contained approximately 8000 litres of bitumen,” he said. “We were able to contain the fire in the tanker and therefore bring it under control. It’s all been contained within the site. We’ve had environmental agencies here to control the run-off.”

Superintendent David Tucker from Redcliffe Police District said it was still unclear what caused the explosion. “Everything has the potential [to become very serious] but obviously the plant has acted appropriately under the circumstances and all the plans have been enacted beautifully.”

Boral?s Queensland general manager Rob McGuire said the blast happened when a holding tank suddenly released pressure. “The holding tank was part of a new mobile bitumen blending plant that was being commissioned at the site. We are working closely with the appropriate authorities and undertaking a comprehensive investigation into the cause of the accident. We are very grateful for the quick response of emergency services and police,? McGuire said in a statement.

Workers hundreds of metres away felt the blast. Perma-Log employee Rowan Carnes said the explosion was ?quite large” and was followed by a plume of black smoke and ?a few flames”.

Mark Watterson, whose workplace is about 400m from Boral, said he had experienced blasts at mines and they were ?nothing” compared with this. He added the explosion caused a blackout and was followed by strong fumes and smoke which forced his workplace into lockdown.

The Community Safety Department said the blaze was under control in about 30 minutes and no one was hurt. Surrounding businesses were evacuated but staff were allowed back to work an hour later.

Sources: AAP, Boral, The Courier Mail, The Sunshine Coast Daily

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