A serious collision between two prime movers transporting loaded trailers resulted in a blazing inferno which closed both northbound lanes of the M1 Pacific Motorway at Pillar Valley last week.
At 10:20pm on July 27, emergency services responded to reports two trucks had been involved in an accident and subsequently caught fire around 15km north of the Wooli turnoff.
Thankfully, both drivers were able to exit their cabins safely.
The driver of the first prime mover managed to uncouple his truck from the trailer before it became engulfed by flames.
Five RFS trucks, a hazmat tanker from Grafton and fire crews from Coffs Harbour, Grafton and South Grafton attended the scene.
South Grafton Fire and Rescue 307 Station Captain Paul Danvers said upon arrival, the second prime mover and both trailers were completely consumed by fire and separated by a distance of around 20m.
“It was a big fire, and it took crews between two and two and a half hours to bring it under control,” he said, adding RFS trucks assisted in providing firefighters with water from a nearby holding pond.
“Both northbound lanes were completely blocked.
“The trucks were unsavable, but we got the job done and it was an awesome effort by all the crews involved.”
Captain Danvers said while the driver of the second prime mover was transported to Grafton Base Hospital following the collision, he was relieved to report there were no fatalities.
“The driver of the first truck was lucky enough to have been able to disconnect from his trailer and move his truck away,” Captain Danvers revealed.
Coffs/Clarence Police District Chief Inspector Joanne Reid said the accident occurred when one of the trucks collided heavily with the rear of the other truck which had exited a rest area.
“The collision caused both trucks to become entangled, taking some 100m before they came to a stop,” she said.
“As a result of the collision the trucks caught fire.
“Both drivers had exited their vehicles by this point.
“FRNSW and RFS attended, and the fire was doused around midnight. “Recovery operations commenced, and the road was cleared at 2:15am.”
The driver of the second truck was transported to hospital following the collision with minor injuries.
Chief Inspector Reid said police investigations are continuing.