There were calls last night for an urgent review of the transportation of hazardous substances — after a runaway oil tanker ploughed into a garden wall in Co Londonderry.
East Londonderry MLA John Dallat called on Environment Minister Arlene Foster to launch a review as he said that yesterday's accident in Coleraine could have led to carnage.
While no-one was injured as a result of the incident, the potential for fatalities was dangerously high after the oil tanker rolled down a hill in the quiet residential street.
A number of nearby residents were evacuated from their homes for several hours after the vehicle overturned.
The emergency services were called to the scene at lunchtime yesterday after oil began to leak from the overturned vehicle.
Members of the Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service were in attendance as a precautionary measure while the clean- up operation was carried out.
It took more than three hours to decant the oil from the overturned tanker to another vehicle and the DRD was also called to the scene to help with the operation.
Speaking from the scene of the accident, Bill Wilsdon, Coleraine district commander of the Fire and Rescue Service, explained: “As far as I know the tanker rolled down the hill.
“No-one was in it at the time. It hit a wall and fence and tipped over.”
“At the time, it was almost full of oil and it started to leak. We were called to the scene at about 1.45pm. We had to evacuate a few homes as a precautionary measure as there was quite a strong smell of kerosene fumes.
“Thankfully the driver wasn't injured and no-one was about when the accident happened.”
Calling for a review of regulations regarding the transportation of substances, such as oil, Mr Dallat said: “This had the potential to be very nasty indeed.
“The fact that no-one was injured is a miracle considering such a heavy vehicle which was carrying oil was involved...
“It is lucky the tanker didn't explode. It could have turned into a fireball so really the people living in the street have been very lucky. I would like to commend the quick clean up operation and hope there is no environmental impact as a result of the accident.”
A PSNI spokeswoman said there were no arrests as a result of the incident.