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WM truck dumps burning load of trash

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WILMER - A Waste Management dump truck dropped its load shortly after 4 p.m. Monday on the Interstate 45 southbound access lanes after a fire started in the cargo hold area.

WM District Manager John Osteen said WM tried to stress to customers, residential and commercial, not to toss burning embers from a fire pit into the trash because they could still be smoldering and hot.

'We'll never know for sure, but the speculation was it was hot ashes,' Osteen said noting what might have started the fire.

Members of the Wilmer Fire Department responded by pouring water on the burning waste laying on the service road and nearby grass.

The road was later reopened after crews from Skyline Landfill arrived on scene.

'Last night we picked up all we could pick up with shovels and a broom until it started getting dark,' Osteen said.

Another crew was sent out Tuesday morning to pick up the remaining trash particles too wet to pick up the previous day.

After a quality assurance check was completed on the truck by the company's mechanics it was back on the road the following day, according to WM Hauling Manager Alfred Hernandez.

Osteen credited the prompt actions by the driver of saving the less than 18-month old truck valued at more than $200,000.

The driver did as he was expected to do by pulling the truck to an isolated area to release his burning load, according to Osteen.

He said the company's drivers have been taught if their trucks ever catch fire to find a remote area to dump the load to try to prevent being a nuisance, tying up traffic and creating a health hazard.

If the fire had continued to burn inside the truck it could have melted the air and hydraulic hoses making the truck inoperable.

No injuries were reported.

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