A fuel service truck recently caught fire at the open cut coal Maules Creek coal mine in Boggabri, NSW, after diesel fuel from a breather assembly on top of the fuel tank flowed directly onto hot engine surfaces.
The onboard fire suppression systems on the truck were unable to extinguish the fire, and the operator escaped from the truck without injury.
The fuel service truck with a full diesel storage tank (33,400 litres calculated) reversed and parked on a ramp to access an excavator.
The excavator had run out of fuel and could not be moved for refueling, and the fuel truck operator exited the cabin and saw diesel flowing from underneath the filter on the front diesel breather assembly.
Due to the incline of the truck (about 11.9° according to survey estimate) the diesel flowed from the breather vent directly onto hot surfaces on the engine.
Back on ground level the operator saw flames around the engine turbo and unsuccessfully tried to extinguish the fire with a dry chemical fire extinguisher.
Another worker activated the truck’s onboard fire suppression system, which failed to extinguish the fire that had spread to the cabin and tank.
The NSW Resources Regulator conducted an investigation and identified:
The NSW Resources Regulator subsequently made a number of recommendations, and said mine operators must review: