Pretoria - The driver of a petrol tanker, carrying 40 000 litres of 93 octane petrol, was burnt beyond recognition after the tanker he was driving lost control and exploded on the N1 highway in the north direction near Botha Avenue in Centurion on Monday night.
Tshwane Emergency Services Department firefighters, who rushed to the scene, could see smoke and flames from several kilometres away from the incident.
They could also hear multiple explosions as they were approaching the scene, according to their spokesperson Charles Mabaso.
“The Tshwane Emergency Services Department received the call at approximately 18:39 on June 5 2023 and immediately dispatched multiple firefighting and support resources to the scene.
Please note the N1 North and South bound between Botha Avenue and the R21 flying saucer intersection will be closed until further notice tonight due to a fully engulfed burning tanker.— Arrive Alive (@_ArriveAlive) June 5, 2023
Emergency Services on scene and alternative traveling routes advised for now #ArriveAlive pic.twitter.com/TfM5jJWAp5
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,” he said.
He said upon arrival firefighters found a tanker that was lying on its side and engulfed by fire.
“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,” Mabaso said.
Firefighters, he said, discovered human remains believed to be of the driver that were burnt beyond recognition in the cab of the tanker.
“The fire was subsequently extinguished once the fire in the ruptured and badly damaged tank was under control. The tanker was reported to have been carrying 40 000 litres 93 octane petrol at the time of the accident,” he said.
A City of Tshwane environmental management practitioner and spill cleaning company were also activated.
Mabaso said: “Water drainage systems were closed to contain the run-off before the fire was doused off 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.”
He said the scene was handed over to the SAPS to investigate the cause of the accident.
This morning, the cleaning and recovery companies continued with clean-up operation and two lanes of the road were fully opened for traffic.