A Cape Coral man was recognized on Thursday after he helped fight a fire that erupted on a Waste Pro truck.
The fire began at around 10:45 am in the Sandoval community, according to the Cape Coral Fire Department.
Waste Pro dumped the fiery load onto the roadway, per their policy, and firefighters were able to contain it.
Andrew Gonzales, the concerned citizen, who hosed down the truck until firefighters arrived was given a Community Reaction Coin for his actions.
Another neighbor, Bert Cervantes, also helped.
“I just saw the truck lots of smoke coming out so then I went over with my work truck started spraying water try to help it out try to calm it down,” he said.
Eric Blythe said he was going to get the recycling when he saw the commotion.
“I see this waste per truck engulfed in flames,” Blythe said. “I was shocked.”
There were no injuries reported.
The fire was caused by a flammable item, which can include, lithium (rechargeable) batteries found in cell phones and laptops, household and pool chemicals, as well as fireworks, charcoal, and ammunition pose a serious threat if disposed of in regular household trash or recyclables.
These items can ignite in a collection truck, resulting in what is known as a “hot load.” Waste Pro is a safety-focused company and all drivers are put through rigorous safety training before they are placed on a collection route.
“The driver in the incident did everything correctly – in instances where hot loads cause a truck fire, the entire truck must immediately be dumped onto the street to be extinguished and prevent further damage to the truck and/or injury to the driver,” Waste Per said.
To assist with preventing incidents like this, Waste Pro is partnering with Cape Coral and the Lee County Solid Waste Division to hold a Bulk Items and Household Chemical Waste disposal event tomorrow at City Hall.
A list of what items will be accepted can be found here. Disposal events are also scheduled for May 7 and August 6.
Waste Pro removed the pile of garbage from the roadway after the fire was put out.
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