Large fire at landfill

Chantelle Deacon

UPDATE: 3:55 p.m.

Summerland fire crews were called to the Summerland landfill Wednesday morning and arrived to find high flames and heavy smoke. 

At about 9:30 a.m. an employee at the Landfill noticed the large fire and immediately called 911. The fire grew rapidly from the time the fire initially sparked, according to the employee. 

The landfill is located on 17202 Bathville Rd., which is a very dry area. The fire slightly spread to a wood chip pile about 20 metres from where it started. 

"It started in the demolition pile and the fire department is actively working on it," said Linda Tynan Summerland chief administrative officer. "We called in for some ministry assistance to have the air bomber with the water and it's helping greatly." 

"There is a chance that it's a chemical fire related to some unknown materials, but that will certainly be looked into." 

“Landfill fires can be pretty dangerous, I don’t think this one was ever out of control, I think they got a handle on it very quickly, but as you can see, it's been quite a worry,” Tynan said. 

By about 12:00 p.m. crews managed to bring the fire down in size. 

The cause of the fire is still under investigation and crews are expected to be monitoring and mopping up well into the evening. The landfill has. however, reopened for customers. 

UPDATE 12:20 p.m.

Firefighters appear to be making steady progress on the fire burning at the Summerland landfill in a demolitions pile.

Flames are still visible, but in a much smaller and condensed area. The B.C. Wildfire Service helicopter continues to drop water on and around the blaze.

It will likely take several hours before crews will have the fire completely out. 

UPDATE 11:30 a.m.

Summerland chief administrative officer Linda Tynan says the pile currently burning is demolitions waste.

She said it's still far too soon to determine a cause of the fire, but said it's possible it could be a chemical fire given that it is a demolitions pile.

“Landfill fires can be pretty dangerous, I don’t think this one was ever out of control, I think they got a handle on it very quickly, but as you can see, it's been quite a worry,” she said at the scene.

UPDATE 11:10 a.m.

An employee of the landfill tells Castanet they called the fire in around 9:30 a.m., after noticing the burning pile.

The employee noted that no one that works at the dump smokes, so it was likely not a cigarette.

A Summerland bylaw officer said landfill staff do their best to monitor what enters the site, but people occasionally dump hazardous or flammable materials without declaring them.

The B.C. Wildfire Service helicopter has picked up more water from the nearby reservoir and is continuing to attack the fire, which is still large and showing considerable flame.

A few piles of wood chips about 50 metres from the original blaze also caught fire, but have been doused by crews. Firefighters continue to maintain the perimeter of the fire in an effort to prevent it from spreading further.

UPDATE 10:45 a.m.

A helicopter from the B.C. Wildfire Service has been called in to assist.

The chopper has made three passes, dropping water on the fire.

The Penticton Fire Department has also been called into Summerland for “hall coverage” while local crews battle the fire at the landfill.

UPDATE 10:25 a.m.

Firefighters appear to be getting the upper hand on the fire, as visible flames are shrinking.

Crews are focusing their efforts on the perimeter of the fire, working to prevent the blaze from spreading. There is still very little information available on what started the fire.

ORIGINAL 10:05 a.m.

Fire crews are currently responding to a large fire at the Summerland landfill.

The blaze was called in around 9:30 a.m., for a report of a pile of garbage on fire.


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