Firefighters wear protective suits as they examine a simulated emergency scene near the Capricorn Highway.
Firefighters wear protective suits as they examine a simulated emergency scene near the Capricorn Highway. Sharyn O'Neill

Chemical spill closes CQ road

EMERGENCY services were forced to close the Fitzroy Developmental Road for over nine hours yesterday as they worked to clean 40 tonnes of ammonium nitrate off the road.

A B-Double carrying the dangerous load rolled about 5.50am yesterday, spilling the chemical across the roadway, 42km north of Dingo.

Ammonium nitrate is an oxidising agent used in the production of explosives and though it is not explosive on its own, it can have a violent reaction when mixed with some incompatible substances.

The driver of the truck was not hurt in the crash and the cabin of the vehicle remained on its wheels, though its two trailers rolled.

Police set up a 1km exclusion zone and shut off the road, not opening it again until 3.30pm, when all of the debris was cleared.

Police could not confirm what company the product belonged to or where it was headed.

But explosives manufacturing company Orica confirmed their employees and products were not involved in the incident.

The crash comes just days after Emergency Services and Orica held a training exercise to ensure all were prepared in case just such an emergency occurred.

The simulated emergency was designed to ensure all were ready and able to handle an on-road incident involving Orica products being transported through Queensland.

It involved Orica employees and representatives from the Queensland Fire and Rescue Service and Queensland Police Service.

The exercise was held off the Capricorn Highway about 500m west of the Yeppen roundabout on Wednesday last week and involved real, clean packaging of Orica products, although no dangerous chemicals were used.

Firefighters donned protective suits to check the area for potentially harmful chemicals, and paramedics simulated transporting someone from the scene.



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