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Hero plumber just doing ‘fair share’

Tuesday, 8th May, 2018

The truck on fire on the side of the Barrier Highway. PICTURE: Supplied The truck on fire on the side of the Barrier Highway. PICTURE: Supplied

By Myles Burt

Humble tradie Luke Robinson who helped rescue a truck driver trapped in a burning b-double said yesterday he was just doing his “fair share”.

Mr Robinson was behind the semi-trailer on his way home from work on Friday afternoon and watched it swerve off the road and topple over about 30km east of Broken Hill on the Barrier Highway.

The plumber pulled over and was first on the scene. He checked the truck driver’s condition before trying free him from the cabin.

“I had a chat to him to make sure he was conscious for a start,” Mr Robinson said yesterday.

“I was holding the door open to get the air out and was trying to get him to climb out the side of his seat.

“A few others called up and tried to give him a hand, but that wasn’t happening.”

Mr Robinson said he then ran to his ute and pulled out a crowbar which he used to smash open the front window of the truck.

“We prised the stone shield off the front of the cab and pulled him out through the front window there,” he said.

“There were another three guys that were pulling him out through the window while I was trying to put out the fire.”

Mr Robinson had a fire extinguisher in his ute which he used to put out the flames that were creeping towards the driver while the others pulled him free.

He then performed first aid before health professionals arrived on the scene.

“No sooner had I pulled the first-aid kit out and started to clean him up than a couple of nurses pulled up,” he said.

“And no sooner a couple of ambos rocked up.

“We got him out and no more than two minutes later the whole cab was up in flames.

“By the time they (fire service) got here it was just gone, it was melted away and the rest of the truck was on fire.” 

Luckily for the truckie, the Barrier Highway was unusually busy that day, according to Mr Robinson. He said a lot of people stopped to watch the drama unfold.

“You can usually drive up and down and not see anyone,” he said.

“I ended up having to tell people to keep going.

“I mean, the truck was up in blazes, there were things popping and the gas tank let go of its pressure release.

“There were flames spurting up in the air.

“I suppose I ended up doing a bit of traffic control as well, actually.”

Mr Robinson has since been in contact with the truck driver who is in a good condition and should be released from hospital soon.

“Aside from a split head and a couple of sore ribs he was fine,” he said.

Mr Robinson said after the accident it was business as usual.

“I rang the office just to let them know I was coming back to town late, and I’d need a new fire extinguisher,” he said.

“The office lady was a bit shaken by the sounds, but everyone’s good.”

He said he’d been thanked by several people including the police, the truck driver, and the driver’s employer, but he said he was just one of a handful who helped on the day.

“I suppose I did my fair share, but somehow it ended up centred around me.”

“There were five other people there helping, but because I was first there it’s all kind of come back to me.”

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