Reflecting on the day, Stephen says without the fire extinguisher the woman would have had no chance of survival.
“The key thing was having the fire extinguisher on hand and using it straight away rather than just sitting in the car and calling 111. The car was all damaged around the fuel tank so it could have easily exploded, there really was no time to waste.”
Stephen has been a Fonterra tanker driver for five seasons and in all this time, he has never experienced anything like this.
“You never know what’s going to happen when you are on the road every day, in all my years with Fonterra I’ve never been involved in an event like this.”
“I’ve seen cars catch on fire before and I had no doubt in my mind that if I didn’t act quickly the car would have turned into an inferno and a woman would have lost her life.”
Depot Manager Shane Taylor personally shared the news with his team at Darfield, recognising Stephen for his quick response.
“This would be a traumatic experience for anyone who comes across it, yet Stephen handled it calmly and professionally. It made me feel good as his manager that he stopped and helped out, because if he didn’t the outcome for that woman could have been much different.”
Stephen also wants to thank the team at our Darfield site for being incredibly supportive and for providing him with the tools to help.
“Our entire tanker fleet all carry an extinguisher and the training we had on how to use them was incredibly helpful.
“The team at Darfield and our tanker team have been really supportive of what I did. Everyone’s been giving me a pat on the shoulder, but to me it just feels like another day on the job.”
“With all the events that we can’t control such as the recent floods and earthquakes, it’s important that we share the stories where we can. You never know what’s around the corner in life.”