Cuyahoga Co. garbage truck fires triggered by irresponsible disposal of household hazards

Garbage truck fires in CLE, Parma and Westlake

PARMA, Ohio - A series of garbage truck fires have fire officials and the Cuyahoga County Solid Waste District issuing a safety warning about the disposal of household hazards.

Waste truck fires in Cleveland, Parma and Westlake over the past month have safety officials urging residents to take the proper steps in disposing flammable, combustible and potentially explosive materials.

Parma Fire Department Public Information Officer TJ Martin says some homeowners simply don't understand the potential danger to residents, garbage collection workers and fire fighters in dealing with these fires.

"We place our lives and safety in danger, and at risk," said Martin.  "The general public is placed in danger. It's a lack of common sense. People place things in refuse containers that don't belong there."

Cuyahoga County Solid Waste District Executive Director Diane Bickett said residents are improperly disposing of flammable paints, petroleum products and even highly flammable cell phone batteries.

"This is a hazard to the collection workers and these can cause the landfills and transfer stations to catch fire," said Bickett. "Annually we collect about 400,000 pounds of this material countywide.  There's a lot of this material being generated, but clearly there is more out there if it's getting into the trash trucks.  We've got to keep it out of there and prevent these fires."

Bickett said the solid waste district offers weekly and monthly collection events so residents can easily and safely dispose of household hazards.

The collection events and recycling programs, in 56 Cuyahoga County cities, can be found on the solid waste district website.

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