Landfill Compactor Catches Fire and Causes Other Problems for Firefighters

July 6, 2012
Dwayne Page

A fire starting from a compactor kept firefighters busy for several hours Thursday at the landfill as the blaze spread to garbage inside a cell area.

County Mayor Mike Foster said a landfill worker was operating the equipment inside the landfill cell, compacting garbage when the fire ignited. He jumped off without injury, but the fire destroyed the compactor. According to Foster, a hose may have burst in the engine compartment of the compactor causing fuel or hydraulic fluid to leak out onto the manifold, triggering the blaze.

Members of the Johnson Chapel, Midway, and Short Mountain Highway stations of the DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Department responded along with a tanker and brush truck. The Cassville Volunteer Fire Department in White County provided mutual aid assistance, bringing a tanker truck and additional manpower.

County Fire Chief Donny Green said firefighters spent three hours and used about 40,000 gallons of water on the garbage fire. Fire trucks refilled at a hydrant on Billings Road near the landfill to keep the water coming.

Once the fire was out, the cell area was covered over with dirt.

The compactor destroyed in this fire is a 1995 model, some ten to fifteen years newer and much more efficient than the only other compactor the landfill is now left with, according to County Mayor Foster. But, he said the county can get by with just one compactor until the one lost in the fire can be replaced.

Foster said he wants to thanks the firefighters, both locally and from Cassville, for their work in putting out the fire.

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