Firefighters who saved lives and sustained injuries at a catastrophic truck crash and explosion south of Charleville in September 2014 will be honoured for their actions of exceptional bravery at a ceremony in Charleville on Monday.
In recognition of their heroism at the explosion, Lieutenants Jake Sullivan and Peter Hackwood will receive the Queensland Fire and Emergency Services Commissioner’s Medal for Valour, with firefighters Nathan Thompson and Clinten McCarthy receiving the Commissioner’s Commendation for Bravery Award.
Fire Communications Officers Leigh Murphy and James Harris will receive Commissioner’s Unit Citations for their extraordinary professionalism during the incident.
On Friday 5 September 2014, two fire crews responded to a truck rollover 30 kilometres south of Charleville.
Risking their lives, firefighters made the commendable decision to remain on scene and attend to the injured driver, knowing that the truck carried more than 50 tonnes of Ammonium Nitrate and a detonation was likely.
While administering first aid to the driver and evacuating civilians from the site, a blast so powerful it blew a five-metre-wide crater in the Mitchell Highway occurred, completely destroying the truck, two bridges, severely damaging two fire appliances and injuring eight people, including the truck driver, four firefighters, two bystanders and a police officer.
After the explosion, and despite their severe injuries and periods of unconsciousness, all four firefighters from Charleville continued with search and rescue operations, evacuating all on scene out of the danger zone to medical assistance.