Blaze causes smoky start to day

Spray: Firefighters soak down a fire at the CSRD landfill site in Salmon Arm early Monday morning. - James Murray/Observer
Spray: Firefighters soak down a fire at the CSRD landfill site in Salmon Arm early Monday morning.
— image credit: James Murray/Observer

It is unlikely that the cause of a blaze at the Columbia Shuswap Regional District landfill in Salmon Arm will be uncovered by investigators.

The fire that took place at the landfill in the early hours of Monday morning was extinguished within two-and-a-half hours, but the acrid smell from the burnt garbage lingered over the city for much longer.

Salmon Arm firefighters got the call and responded at 5:06 a.m., however Mike Bailey, assistant fire chief, says they believe the fire had been burning for a few hours before it was called in.

“It was in an area on the back side of the landfill where the garbage was dumped and then covered over at closing time, so probably smouldered for some of the night until it got to a size and the smoke and odour of the toxins burning alerted people to call,” he said.

Crews from halls #2 and #3 attended, as well as a water tanker from Hall #1. The fire was put out by 7:30 a.m. The area has since been excavated to ensure the fire is totally extinguished.

Bailey says the cause of the fire is undetermined.

“No idea. It could have been anything that was in the garbage that day. With all that garbage, it’s pretty difficult to tell.”

There were no injuries to any of the firefighters, who took special precautions due to the fire’s location.

“Fires at landfills always pose a particular, serious concern because of the potential for toxic smoke, so we ensure extra care is taken for the personal protection of our firefighters,” says Bailey.

The landfill opened as usual Monday morning.


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