A one-kilometre emergency situation remains in place after a tanker carrying 15,000 litres of hyrdrochloric acid exploded on a motorway in Brisbane on Friday morning.
Emergency services say it’s ‘miracle’ no one was injured when the tanker exploded into flames about 8.30am on Queensland’s M1 Motorway.
The driver has been praised for acting quickly and pulling off the motorway after noticing the fire beneath the tanker.
He then called emergency services and warned other motorists away from the area.
“I believe it is a miracle he has escaped without any injuries,” said a Queensland Fire and Emergency Service Inspector Jed Crosby told ABC Radio.
The driver was treated for smoke inhalation but has since been released.
The one-kilometre-wide exclusion zone was established after the tanker caught fire on the M1 Motorway at Loganholme, closing the motorway which connects Brisbane with the Gold Coast in both directions.
Queensland police say all northbound lanes have now reopened but southbound lanes are expected to remain closed for several more hours.
Motorists stuck in the traffic jam are being urged not to cross onto the wrong side of the road to get out or do illegal U-Turns.
Trucker company owner Coogee Chemicals incident response team are working with emergency services to remove the vehicle.
The Perth-based company said it was “relieved” no-one was injured.
Police say moving the tanker from the motorway will be a “logistical challenge” as it will need to be escorted away by police after emergency crews remove the acid from the tanker.
An ABC reporter, Francis Tapim, who lives nearby, said he felt the explosion, saying the “five or six explosions” shoot his “little brick house”.
“No-one is getting through [on the M1] and I feel sorry for the people who are stuck behind this accident at the moment because they can’t get off the freeway — they’re going to be there for hours.
“It was a bad explosion — I was sleeping at home.
“These explosions are so loud that it shook my house, it rocked the house and I thought ‘hang on, that can’t be a jackhammer’,” he said.
Anyone with breathing difficulties has been advised to keep medication or breathing aids with them.