Pretoria - The N1 North, towards Pretoria, has been partially opened following an accident where a petrol tanker burst into flames near Botha Avenue in Centurion.
Human remains believed to be of the driver of the truck were burnt beyond recognition in the cab of the tanker, according to spokesperson for Tshwane Emergency Services Department and deputy chief, Charles Mabaso.
The incident happened on Monday evening, causing authorities to close off the N1 freeway in both directions.
“The N1 direction south (towards Joburg) is completely opened and traffic is flowing normally, whereas the N1 direction north, still near Botha Avenue where the tanker lost control and caught fire is still closed only on one lane. Only one lane is closed,” Mabaso spoke to IOL in Pretoria at around 10am on Tuesday.
“The other lanes are working and as such this might cause slow traffic.
“The Sanral (South African National Roads Agency) and other agencies that are responsible for the cleaning remain on scene to manage the scene further,” said Mabaso.
On Monday night, Mabaso said the Tshwane emergency services had handed over the scene to law enforcement agencies, as well as cleaning and recovery entities.
He said the Tshwane Emergency Services Department received the distress call at approximately 6.39pm on Monday, and immediately dispatched multiple firefighting and support resources to the scene.
“Firefighters could see the smoke and flames from several kilometres away from the incident and could hear multiple explosions as they were approaching the scene. Upon arrival at the scene, firefighters found a tanker that was lying on its side and engulfed by fire,” said Mabaso.
“They, together with law enforcement agencies and other emergency medical services immediately closed off the N1 direction south and north between Botha Avenue and the R21/N1 Flying Saucer interchange.
“Human remains believed to be of the driver were burnt beyond recognition in the cab of the tanker. The fire was subsequently extinguished once the fire ruptured and in the badly damaged tank was under control,” he said.
Mabaso said the tanker was reported to have been carrying 40 000 litres of 93 octane petrol at the time of the accident.
“A City of Tshwane environmental management practitioner and spill cleaning company were also activated. Water drainage systems were closed to contain the run-off before the fire was doused with firefighting foam from two hose lines and a master stream from an industrial firefighting truck.
“Tshwane dispatched two fire engines, two water tankers, a ladder truck a mobile command unit and multiple support vehicles to manage the scene and fight the fire,” said Mabaso.
He appealed to community members across Tshwane to call 107 - toll free or 012 358 6300/6400 for fire and rescue emergencies.
“For emergency medical/ambulance assistance, please call 112,” said Mabaso.
In April, the Tshwane Metro Police Department said clean-up operations were under way on the N1 South, facing Joburg, following a crash involving a tanker carrying hazardous material.
The crash took place at around 2am on April 17.
The truck transporting the hazardous material was apparently hit from behind by another truck. The driver of the second truck was not found at the scene.