Firefighters and Hazmat rescue teams control a blaze in a semi-trailer carrying fresh meat on the Pacific Highway near Bangalow yesterday afternoon. The Highway was closed for several hours.
Firefighters and Hazmat rescue teams control a blaze in a semi-trailer carrying fresh meat on the Pacific Highway near Bangalow yesterday afternoon. The Highway was closed for several hours. Jerad Williams

Fire destroys semi on highway

IT WAS one Black Friday truckie Alan Stankovic will never forget after his $280,000 semi-trailer burst into flames and was destroyed on the Pacific Highway at Bangalow yesterday.

Mr Stankovic was hauling a load of fresh meat from Brisbane to Grafton when just before the Bangalow turn off he began to smell smoke in the cabin.

“I spoke to the truck behind me on the UHF (radio) and he said he there was a lot of smoke coming out the back,” Mr Stankovic said.

The Grafton-based truck driver then pulled over to the side of the road and opened the truck’s bonnet.

“There were flames near the computer on the left hand side,” Mr Stankovic said.

Mr Stankovic only had time to grab his thongs, a toiletry bag and a duffle bag with some clothes in it from inside the cabin before it was engulfed in flames.

“I lost everything inside, my television and all my DVDs,” he said.

He then tried to detach the cabin from the trailer but the airlines had already burned out and he was unable to release it.

Residents at Clover Hill reported hearing a series of loud bangs, believed to be the trucks tyres bursting, and a loud screech, understood to have been the refrigerated trailer degassing.

When emergency workers opened the back doors of the trailer the smell of smoked meat wafted out.

Of the truck, all that was left was a smouldering, black heap of burned-out metal.

“It was insured, I pay $20,000 a year,” he said.

A philosophical Mr Stankovic sat at the side of the road talking to his insurance company on his mobile phone while the Bangalow branch of the Rural Fire Service applied foam to the burning cabin.

The fire was also attended by units from Byron Bay and Newrybar.

The accident caused havoc with the southbound lanes of the Pacific Highway closed for several hours.

Traffic was diverted through Bangalow’s CBD.



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