Eli Waters resident Paul Karlish was woken at almost 1am on Thursday when his semi trailer filled with cane mulch went up in flames. Photo: Contributed.
Eli Waters resident Paul Karlish was woken at almost 1am on Thursday when his semi trailer filled with cane mulch went up in flames. Photo: Contributed.

SEE THE PICS: Truck driver recounts night he woke to flames

The freight truck driver whose semi trailer carrying more than 24 tonnes of cane mulch caught fire just after midnight Thursday has spoken out.

Paul Karlish was fast asleep after a hard day's work when his neighbour ran to the front of his house with garden hoses yelling "your truck's on fire!"

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"You could see the mulch on passenger side in about the middle of the trailer was all up in flames," Mr Karlish said.

"I ran out, unhooked the trailer and pulled the truck forward while my wife and neighbours got garden hoses and I grabbed a fire extinguisher."

The semi trailer parked on Ibis Blvd at Eli Waters was carrying 34 large bales of cane mulch weighing more than 24 tonnes in total.

Fire crews worked for four hours to distinguish the blaze.
Fire crews worked for four hours to distinguish the blaze.

Mr Karlish was supposed to be on the road with the load by 2am to deliver it to Jacobs Well by 7am.

He lost about $5500 of product that night; and a couple days worth of work.

But he said they're lucky they didn't lose their home.

"It was only metres from the house, we were worried, we could have lost everything," Mr Karlish said.

"But thanks to our neighbours and the quick reaction of the fireys, who were there within 15 minutes, we didn't."

It took fire crews four hours to extinguish the blaze by pulling apart each bale and dousing them with water on the ground.

Mr Karlish has worked as a general freight driver for more than 25 years and has never seen something like this happen.

Fireys pulled apart each bale and doused it with water on the ground to put it out.
Fireys pulled apart each bale and doused it with water on the ground to put it out.

He believes it was deliberate and said the trailer was loaded at 3pm in dry and cool conditions so it shouldn't have spontaneously combusted.

Police are also treating the fire as suspicious.

"I don't get how someone can be that sick and stupid in the head to do that," Mr Karlish said.

"The amount of ratbags that get around here at all hours of the night is crazy.

"I had a dashcam in the truck but it didn't show anything from that angle, and there was no surveillance in the street.

"I'm just glad the neighbours saw it; it could have been a whole lot worse than it was."

Council workers were cleaning up the debris until lunch time on Thursday.

Anyone with information is urged to contact police.



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