Smoldering trash item sparks Knott Landfill blaze

Likely BBQ briquette; firefighters warn to take care with trash

POSTED: 12:25 AM PST December 24, 2013    UPDATED: 10:36 PM PDT August 16, 2013 
Fire erupts at Knott Landfill
BEND, Ore. -

A disposed-of, smoldering object – such as a used charcoal briquette – likely sparked a fire in a large trash trailer early Friday evening that caused about $30,000 damage to a receiving building at Deschutes County’s Knott Landfill in southeast Bend, fire officials said.

Firefighters responded around 5:30 p.m. to the reported structure fire at the landfill at 61050 SE 27thy Street, said Bend fire Battalion Chief Dave Howe.

Crews arrived to find the large receiving building full of smoke, and a fire in a loaded, open-topped solid waste truck parked in an area below the grade of the building, where a loader pushes trash into it, Howe said. When it’s full, they haul the trailer to the adjacent landfill for disposal.

Firefighters put out the fire and removed the smoke from the building, the battalion chief said. Since the truck was still drivable, it was moved to a remote area and emptied, so the contents could be fully extinguished.

County Solid Waste Director Timm Schimke confirmed the fire broke out in a garbage trailer parked in the loading stall of the facility but that the building itself was not burned in the blaze.

Still, losses were estimated at $30,000 to the building. Howe that estimate included not just smoke damage but an overhead door and some plastic windows.

Howe reminded the community to be very careful disposing of anything that has burned, such as briquettes or woodstove ashes, and to make sure they are fully cold before disposal.

County dispatchers said no injuries were reported and sheriff's deputies were on scene.

Bend Fire issued a personnel and fire chief callback and also called for utility crews to cut power to the building for a time.