Garbage truck catches fire after flammable items thrown in trash

After a St. Charles Parish resident put flammable items in their garbage can that caused a truck fire, River Birch Renewable Energy wants to warn residents of the dangers such hazardous items can cause.

Chris Stewart, safety manager for River Birch, said that they were unable to determine the exact source of the fire, but that awareness and communication are key to keeping everyone safe. She also praised the actions of both the garbage truck driver and the fire department for their actions in limiting damage.

“We are very grateful for the actions of everyone involved,” Stewart said. “Without the fire department and their professional handling of the situation, it could have been a much worse situation. The community is very fortunate to have such a great fire department.”

The truck driver also identified the smoke and fire quickly, pulled over and compressed the trash to minimize the potential of air feeding the fire. He then called 911. Due to those actions, there was minimal damage to the truck and it was back in operation later that day.

Stewart said the most common items that people throw in the garbage but shouldn’t include batteries, ammunition, fireworks, gas cylinders, chemicals, ashes and fuel cans.

“Those are some of the most common items we see, but the list is not all inclusive,” she added.

While situations like this are not a frequent occurrence, Stewart said it does happen more often than the company would like.

“Some of the most common reasons are when people are opening or closing their swimming pools for the season and getting rid of old chemicals, when fireplaces are used and ashes are disposed of, or fireworks put in the trash that have not been properly extinguished,” she said.