Recycling truck catches fire

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Battalion Chief David Salerno St. Clair Shores firefighters put out a fire in the back of a Green for Life Environmental recycling truck Sept. 3.

Photo provided by St. Clair Shores Fire Department

 Battalion Chief David Salerno Firefighters extinguish any remaining flames from a load dumped in the former Kmart parking lot by GFL after it caught fire.

Battalion Chief David Salerno Firefighters extinguish any remaining flames from a load dumped in the former Kmart parking lot by GFL after it caught fire.

Photo provided by St. Clair Shores Fire Department

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ST. CLAIR SHORES — St. Clair Shores Fire Chief James Piper commended Green for Life Environmental for its actions following a recycling truck fire in the southern end of the city Sept. 3.

He said the St. Clair Shores Fire Department was called at 3:25 p.m. Sept. 3 after the driver of a recycling truck noticed that it was smoking.

“GFL, I really commend those guys. The driver saw he had a problem. He contacted his supervisor. He made a fantastic call, said, ‘Go to the Kmart parking lot,’” Piper explained. “Because everything’s so compact, you just can’t get (a garbage truck fire) all the way out without dumping the load. That is a logistical problem in a narrow street in the neighborhood.”

Being in a “nice open area” like the empty parking lot enabled firefighters to knock the flames down within 15-20 minutes. They then had the driver dump the load of recycling so that everything could be extinguished.

Piper said the cause of the truck fire is unknown.

“It could have been anything, from one of the more recent pickups, somebody walking by and discarded a cigarette, to residues in some of the plastics,” Piper said. “Unfortunately for us, it’s one of those ones, it’s so hard to pin down.”

Following the dump, GFL cleaned the area and hauled the recycling away.

“Later that evening, you could never even tell that we had had a mountain of trash out there,” Piper said.

At the Sept. 3 City Council meeting, Councilman Peter Rubino also commended the efforts of the trash hauler and the Fire Department.

“They took care of it quickly and they cleaned it up,” he said. “There was a wind and there was garbage blowing everywhere. Kudos to them — they picked it all up.”

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