A TAMBO truckie's 33rd birthday quickly turned from a happy haul to highway horror when his rig burst into flames near Rolleston early on Wednesday.
The best present would have been a fire extinguisher - but that was stolen from the green Kenworth prime mover two weeks ago when he drove in to Emerald on business.
Rolleston's Senior Constable Andrew Donohue said the owner-driver was hauling a triple deck of cattle on the Dawson Hwy through to Eidsvold when trouble struck.
"The B-double was heading from Springsure to Rolleston at 4.30am when he has blown a drive tyre and it looks like that has broken the air hose and the brakes have locked on," Snr Const Donohue said.
"It was the inside tyre on the lead axle that blew. He has heard it and put his foot on the brake, but the tyre has shredded and gotten the air hose.
"The brake overheated and he's hopped out and there are flames everywhere."
Snr Const Donohue praised the driver's quick thinking in unhitching the trailers full of cattle, none of which were injured.
The driver dialled Triple Zero and could only watch as the fire took hold.
The blaze was extinguished by the Rolleston rural brigade.
"The fire was so hot the chassis melted and the suspension straightened out and flattened. The whole back end is just ruined," Snr Const Donohue said.
"Once the brakes locked on, with the weight of the cattle and what was behind, it was a losing battle."
A tow truck was called in to take the wreckage away by lunch time.
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