Garbage Truck Fire in Seven Fields
By Captain Doug Mellinger
October 13, 2023

Shortly after 8:52 the tones were struck for a reported garbage truck with it’s load on fire on Dorchester Drive in Seven Fields Borough. Captain 42 arrived on scene at 9:00 to find the driver of the truck trying to hold back the flames with a garden hose provided from a residence after expending his available fire extinguishers.

Engine 19 arrived and was assigned to fire attack with E42-2 arriving almost simultaneously behind them for water supply. Multiple attempts to extinguish the fire through access doors around the load compartment were unsuccessful as the truck was almost completely full and reaching the fire through the compacted materials was almost impossible, causing it to reignite the moment extinguishment efforts were paused to gauge effect.

The decision was made by command to dump the load on the residential street to prevent the fire from spreading to the hydraulics or body of the truck. The load was then able to be successfully extinguished.

Crews remained on scene to assist with clean up and removal of the trash in case it would rekindle with the introduction of oxygen to the compacted materials during clean up with a front end loader.

The cause of the fire is undetermined, but multiple batteries and other possible sources of ignition were found to be possible contributing factors.

Crews were on scene for approximately three hours, with Engine 42-2 releasing and returning in handling other alarms.