FIRST ON THE SCENE: Family evacuated as tanker spills fuel
IT WAS a loud bang, followed by another, and then another, that alerted Sharon and Wayne Marriott to the emergency unfolding on the Bruce Hwy.
The Marriotts were among the first on the scene of a B-Double fuel tank roll-over about 4km south of Childers that left 20,000L of fuel spilling on to the road last night.
The situation was declared an emergency by the Queensland Police Service about 8.40pm.
The road was shut down and traffic diverted through the Childers area as emergency crews began the massive clean-up.
"It's been a very long night," Mrs Marriott said.
The couple, who live on a farm on top of a hill on the highway, called 000 as they helped the driver, who had managed to crawl out of the cab.
"We were about 75m away from it all," she said.
"We were having dinner when we heard the bangs and my husband, Wayne, flew out the door."
"The driver had smashed his elbow and was pretty shocked. He half collapsed on the ground and was escorted out of the road."
Mrs Marriott said emergency services crews arrived within minutes as vehicles tried to dodge the incident.
"There were idiots in the traffic who would not stop," she said.
"A couple of big trucks and about 12 cars wouldn't stop and one car came so close to hitting the tanker, it was unbelievable."
The Marriotts were evacuated from their farm when police set up an 800m exclusion zone around the area.
The couple and their children spent the night in their car at the top of their driveway watching the incident unfold.
"You could smell the fuel - it was really strong," Mrs Marriott said.
"We were offered a hotel room to stay in for the night but we didn't accept it because we have sheep on our farm with quite a few babies that we didn't want to leave behind."
Mrs Marriott said crews worked all night and into the morning.
"They stabilised the truck and at about 2am another truck came from Brisbane to decant the fuel out of the damaged tanker," she said.
"Then it took then until 7am to remove what fuel was left."
Paramedics took the driver of the truck, who suffered minor arm injuries, to Childers Hospital.
Fire crews from Maryborough, Bundaberg and Childers were on scene overnight and remained on standby for any potential fires when the vehicle was rolled back on to its wheels on this morning.
The section of highway will remain closed until about lunchtime.