Approximately around 12:00 pm Friday afternoon the contents inside of a Santa Monica City garbage truck caught on fire in the back of the truck where the trash is, spreading quickly. The driver notified the city's 911 system about the fire and the Santa Monica Fire Department (SMFD) alongside the Santa Monica Police Department (SMPD) responded to the fire, the fire department responded to the scene with an engine company, one truck company, one Light/Air rescue vehicle, and a battalion chief. Upon those units' arrival, the contents inside of the truck were in the middle of the street, according to Santa Monica Fire Department Battalion Chief Jeff Connor, the driver did this in line with protocol to prevent the diesel-fueled truck from catching fire. It took approximately 1 hour and 36 minutes for 11 firefighters to knock down the fire. Fire crews were on scene for 2 hours to help clean up the street as well as to put out any hotspots. Vehicle and pedestrian traffic was shut down in the area until the debris in the roadway was cleared and deemed safe for pedestrians and vehicles to travel through the area. Around 2:00 in the afternoon the area was cleared and opened to vehicle and pedestrian traffic. The SMFD cleared the scene around 2:15 pm.
Resource Recovery & Recycling and Wastewater Management assisted in responding to the incident to help clear up the trash and ensure that it was cleared up from the sidewalk and roadway. Resource Recovery & Recycling staff brought a loader machine to spread out the smoldering material so that SMFD could ensure that fire was extinguished across the entire pile of refuse as well as a dumpster to remove the waste and a street sweeper was arranged to conduct a final clean up of the area.
“It was nice to have all the agencies working together because we couldn’t do it by ourselves and they couldn’t, but together we could do it,” said Connor.
The SMPD assisted with shutting down traffic in the area of the 3rd street promenade and Arizona Ave. Pedestrian traffic from the promenade was also shut down while fire crews worked to put out the fire in the middle of the street.
Fire Captain Patrick Nulty a spokesman for the Santa Monica Fire Department stated that “it took 11 firefighters to knock down the fire and 3 hours to have the incident all cleared up and for the road to reopen.” “The cause of the fire is unknown at this time”, Nulty said as well in a statement released to us. A battalion chief on the scene also gave information to the public.
There has been no official statement released from the Santa Monica Police Department. The cause of the fire is still under investigation.