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Truck destroyed, highway closed
CFA firefighters responded to a fire which engulfed a semi-trailer and forced the closure of the Princes Highway at Stratford last night (6 September).
Firefighters were called around 7.40pm to a semi-trailer on fire on the bridge over the Avon River on the southern approach to the Stratford township. On arrival, crews found the prime mover and trailer fully involved in fire.
Fortunately, the truck was not located on the actual bridge deck as reported. The truck driver having pulled it up around 30 metres south of the bridge.
Attending the incident, CFA District 10 Operations Manager Allan Rankin said Stratford crews quickly went to work, establishing an effective command and control structure and calling for assistance from neighbouring brigades; Maffra and Sale.
Mr Rankin said the truck, which was carrying a non-hazardous mixed load, was destroyed.
“The driver had noticed something untoward occurring with the prime mover – and while seeking advice from the transport company’s mechanic, who advised him to find a safe location to pull the vehicle over, he saw smoke coming from the trailer and then from within the cabin of the prime mover,” he said.
The truck was quickly engulfed in fire.
“The driver did a great job to recognise what was going on and then to pull the truck up in the safest location on he could, short of the bridge over the Avon River.”
The fire was called under control at 8.20pm. Heavy haulage machinery was called in to remove the load and the truck. The highway reopened around 3am.
Mr Rankin said position of the truck, with an embankment to one side, was a challenge for firefighters.
“Weather conditions were favourable for firefighters with a light easterly breeze taking smoke away from the east side of the fire, allowing firefighters to work out of the smoke.” he said.
“Firefighters involved in fire suppression were in Breathing Apparatus.
“We had a significant number of firefighters on scene - at the height of the incident, at least 30 firefighters. We received excellent support from Victoria Police, Ambulance Victoria and Transport Company representatives.
“Our firefighters put an excellent fireground structure in place, the job was quickly sectorised and the command and control arrangements quickly put in place by officers from Stratford, the first responders, were first class.
“The team work and operational efficiency on display by all attending crews and agencies was exemplary.
“A challenging job made safe by the excellent efforts of all involved.”
Brigades from Stratford, Maffra, Sale, and Traralgon, who provided BA support, attended. Victoria police responded for traffic control and ambulance and VicRoads also attended.