Purchase photos

Trailer destroyed in landfill fire

1/24/2013

By MIKE CORN

mcorn@dailynews.net

Ellis County rural firefighters were called out twice Wednesday to the Ellis County landfill to extinguish a fire in a trailer being filled with trash.

It's uncertain, however, if the fire was caused by burning embers or a chemical reaction started the blaze.

Ellis County Rural Fire Chief Richard Klaus said it might have been caused by a load of trash containing burning embers that had been brought to the transfer station.

Or, said Ellis County Public Works Director Mike Graf, it might have been a chemical reaction, something that's happened before.

The trailer being filled with trash was destroyed, a loss Graf said might amount to as much as $80,000.

The trailer is owned by Clayton Befort, who has a hauling contract with the county to ferry trash from the transfer station to a landfill near Topeka.

There was another $1,000 in damage to the building, after some of the tin was removed so firefighters could get to smoldering debris.

Klaus said firefighters first were called shortly after noon, and called back shortly after returning to the station.

There's a bin inside the transfer station, Graf said, where trash thought to be smoldering is placed and then watered down.

At Wednesday's incident, there wasn't any indication of trash that might have been smoldering.

"They do look for it," Graf said.

This is the first time Ellis County's lost a trailer at the transfer station. One has been lost when smoldering trash caught fire as it was being hauled to Topeka.

Trash that had been in the trailer was moved to another spot at the landfill, where it was packed down and covered to prevent it from blowing and to ensure there were no other hot spots.