A Glen Innes agricultural officer and farmer has been hospitalised in a horrific truck fire in Warwick while transporting hay to feed his cattle.
Perry Newman, 37, was injured when his load of thousands of dollars of hay caught fire outside Warwick at around 12.13am on Saturday.
Eight passers-by rendered assistance, deploying fire extinguishers in an effort to save $4500 worth of feed. But they were unable to stop the truck being engulfed in flames.
He said he still has no idea what caused the blaze, but he described driving along the Cunningham highway to Warwick, looking back in his rear vision mirror, and seeing his load ablaze.
He did his best to put it out with a pair of overalls, without success.
His truck was fully alight by the time emergency services arrived to the scene, which was stricken just outside Warwick. A fire spread to surrounding grassy areas, with six fire trucks helping contain the blaze.
Mr Newman was sent to the Warwick hospital on Saturday with minor burns and smoke inhalation, but was released that night and has returned to Glen Innes.
He said the truck has been recovered from Warwick.
Ironically Perry Newman, who works as a bio security officer with the Local Land Service in Glen Innes, has responsibility for organising water trucks, but was forced to transport hay to feed both his and his mum's cattle.
"It's not about the money," he said.
"But four and a half thousand dollars - for us - is a lot of money, that we've just tried to scrape up to keep our few horses and cattle going."
Many Glen Innes residents have contacted his family to offer money or other support, according to mum and Glen Innes Severn Council deputy mayor Dianne Newman.
Perry said he was "humbled by that".
He said the fire has hit him while he was down, during one of the worst droughts in living memory.