eThekwini emergency crews respond to multi-truck accident on N3 in Durban
eThekwini emergency crews respond to multi-truck accident on N3 Durban-bound just after the Shongweni off-ramp towards the Marriannhill Toll Plaza on Friday, 5 August 2022. eThekwini Fire and Emergency Services Station Commander Dave Leppan, said, “Fire was dispatched at 18h32 with the first arriving appliance at 19h08 due to heavy congestion on the freeway. We responded to an incident involving four heavy goods trucks, one car carrier with vehicles and one small open back delivery truck. On arrival of first appliance, it was established that multiple trucks were well alight, four trucks including a tanker were on fire. The tanker was found to be carrying milk and the cab of this trailer was well alight.”
“Western Region’s B platoon was duty and our response included three rescue pumpers, one water carrier and one foam carrier. Gillitts Fire Station responded with Rescue Pumper RP26 and Station Commander D Leppan, Pinetown Fire Station with Rescue Pumper RP41, Water Carrier WC04 and Station Commander P Msomi, Pinetown South Fire Station with with Rescue Pumper RP12 and Station Commander D Naicker and Hammersdale Fire Station with Foam Tender FT02,” said SC Leppan.
“Gillitts appliance was stuck in heavy traffic due to the heavy trucks now stationary on the N3 bridge about 1km from the incident. Station Commander Leppan made the call to dispatch the Pinetown and Pinetown South appliance to the incident, requesting them to travel contraflow on the N3 from the toll plaza. This decision resulted in both those appliance arriving some 40 minutes before they could eventually make their way through the immense backlog of traffic.”
“On arrival of the Pinetown crew, they found multiple trucks well alight. On investigation brigade saw that four trucks including a tanker were on fire. The two crews got to work extinguishing the truck fires that involved the transportation of maize meal and coal. Gillitts fire crew ran the 1km to the incident and began moving the trucks with assistance of members of public that got out their cars to help move the trucks to one side so as to get the appliance to the scene.”
“Station Commander Leppan and his crew began fighting the fires from their side. Foam was used to extinguish the truck transporting granules/crystallised polypropylene plastic, with eight drums of foam being used to extinguish this product.
Both teams on opposite side of the fire incident worked extremely well to bring the fires under control within an hour of arriving. The incident stretched some 400m in length, with no other trucks or cars being damaged due to the exposure protection lines being utilised in conjunction with the fire attack lines.”
“It is alleged that the truck carrying polypropylene had issues with his brakes whilst going downhill. It collided with multiple vehicles and trucks before coming into stop where it burst into flames thus resulting in the nearby truck becoming fully involved. The only injuries reported on scene was this driver that was airlifted to hospital by ER24. No other people reported injuries as a result of this incident,” added SC Leppan.
“The immense backlog of traffic preventing the first dispatched appliances, Gillitts and Hammersdale from arriving on scene first that was traveling on the N3 east bound. This challenge was overcome by Station Commander Leppan dispatching two other appliances from the opposite direction, N3 west bound travelling contraflow to the incident with no traffic obstruction.”
The fires were under control at 20h16 and the call closed at 02h37am. Other services attended were Drizit and LSS Cleaning Company who came to clean the road, Sgt Zulu from the South African Police Services (SAPS) and Sgt Msabala from RTI. Joey's Tow Truck was also in attendance for recovery process.
Source: Station Commander Dave Leppan, Cato Ridge Fire Station, eThekwini Fire and Emergency Services