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Rowville's Great Ball Of Fire

Rowville's great ball of fire

Stud Road in Rowville became the centre of attention just before 1:00 am on Sunday morning (11 December) when a B-double petrol tanker refilling the Caltex/Woolworths fuel outlet suddenly ignited.

The tanker was located at the southern end of the outlet which placed it adjoining to the very busy Stamford Hotel with a full crowd of Saturday night revelersí in the bars, clubs and gaming venue.

Multiple calls were being received by 000 operators as the fire took hold lighting up the area.

Once the tanker caught fire, fuel began moving down the sloping roadway into the rear carpark of the hotel melting hotel signs along the way. Two vehicles caught alight and a third sedan being driven by a "P" plater impacted a tree in the carpark when trying flee the scene.

Weather conditions at the time were quite atrocious with heavy rain and a thunder storm delivering a fancy lightning show in the night sky.

Emergency services quickly responded to the area with police rapidly trying to evacuate the hotel of patrons and close down all traffic along Wellington and Stud Roads.

Rowville's Captain Farrer took command of the scene with around 100 CFA fire-fighters all working to contain both the tanker fire (including nearby trees burning) and the spread of both burning and unburnt fuel travelling into the hotel area.

Foam was applied onto the burning vehicle via a monitor on Dandenong's Type 4 heavy pumper and crews with handheld hose lines. Those directly involved wore either breathing apparatus or P2 face masks for protection.

All drain pits were either blocked or bypassed by crews with shovels or rake-hoes to prevent run-off into the nearby waterways.

Scoresby Hose Layer provided water supply lines from the north for several hundred metres into Rowville Pumper.

The driver who suffered severe burns to more than 30% of his body was initially treated on-scene by Paramedics and then transported by road ambulance to the Alfred Hospital.

CFA deputy group officer Peter Shaw said firefighters arrived to see a "burning wall" leading from the service station all the way to the Stamford Inn. "This call had a huge potential for disaster".

Several vehicles also responded direct to the Stamford Hotel as FIP (Fire Indicator Panel) alarms were also being received.

Power companies, The EPA and Water authorities attended along with the other emergency services on-scene.

Traffic was diverted around the scene until late Sunday.

Fire brigades at the call were:- Rowville, Scoresby, Bayswater, Upper Ferntree Gully, Narre Warren North, Ferntree Gully, The Basin, Montrose, Hallam and Dandenong.

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