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Region sends emergency backups as explosion's cost counted

UPDATE: ADDITIONAL auxiliary firefighters from across the south west region have been dispatched to Charleville along with a secondary vehicle after last nights truck explosion.

Region Director of Regional Operations chief superintendent for the South West Region Lindsay Hackett said six auxiliaries have been posted in Charleville to relieve those who attended the explosion last night.

"Obviously these (Charleville) guys have gone through quite a traumatic experience," Supt Hackett said.

"The firefighters will be housed in motels in Charleville and they will be the firefighting force out in Charleville for the next few days.

"That way it will give those guys who were involved in the incident some deserved time off."

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Emergency services attended the truck roll-over last night about 30km south of Charleville along the Mitchell Highway.

Two of Charleville's Auxiliary firefighters remain in hospital in Toowoomba and two were discharged from Charleville Hospital earlier today.

Two vehicles from the Charleville branch attended and Supt Hackett believed both would be classed as write-offs.

"We don't know how the fire started or how the truck left the road at this stage," he said.

"Over the next day there will be an investigation of how it happened."

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He said at the time when the initial call came through there was no information that the truck was loaded with chemicals.

"As I understand the auxiliaries performed a snatch and grab (of the driver) ... they witnessed certain fire activitie which gave the indication they needed to get out as soon as they could," Supt Hackett said.

"They obviously risked their lives to do the snatch and grab of the driver."

Supt Hackett said there was a substantial amount of chemicals aboard the truck, which will continue to burn and smoulder for the next couple of days.

9.05AM SAT: EIGHT people have been injured after a truck, carrying 50 tonnes of fertiliser, crashed and exploded 30km south of Charleville overnight.

The Cunnamulla Road between Charleville and Wyandra was closed to all traffic after the truck roll-over at about 9.50pm on Friday night.

Police say the roll-over occurred near a bridge heading towards Wyandra.

Police said on Saturday that Facebook reports that two people had died were not correct.

They said four firefighters, one police officer and three civilians sustained non life threatening injuries.

They were all taken to the Charleville Hospital.

According to police the male truck driver sustained serious but non-life threatening injuries and was air-lifted to Brisbane for treatment.

Two male witness who stopped to assist the truck driver received minor injuries. One male police officer and four male emergency services workers also sustained minor injuries  They were taken to the Charleville Hospital for treatment.

The truck was carrying aproximately 50 tonnes of the chemical.

Even this morning, the situation is still considered volatile with a two kilometre exclusion zone in place.

Police are appealing for witnesses to the crash and investigations are continuing. 

Earlier reports said the combination of the chemical and diesel caused a large explosion which triggered a 2.0 magnitude earthquake in the area.

A nearby bridge reportedly suffered extensive damage and the highway is expected to be closed for sometime.

Residents reported on Facebook that the noise was heard as far as Charleville.

"A big explosion rattled our houses here in town about midnight and local reports say that was a gas truck crashed, and that a fire engine caught alight. Helicopters flying over. Pray for them all,'' Madeline Cobb wrote.

"My heart goes out to everyone that has been affected by this horrible accident in a small town," Rae Griffin said.

"It has literally rattled the town and has been recorded on the Geoscience Earthquake Australia site,'' Higgins Storm Chasing's Facebook site reported.

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Geo Science Australia said they had about half a dozen reports of people contacting them reporting a 'quake'.

A spokesperson for the Department of Transport has issued a release saying the Angellala bridge on the Mitchell Highway between Wyandra and Charleville has been destroyed following an explosion.

"We are working on establishing a detour for light vehicles, however this detour won't be suitable for heavy vehicles or caravans.," the spokesperson said.

"Heavy vehicles and caravans should find an alternate route."

Anyone with information can contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.



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