Several city garbage trucks burned on Sunday night in what was first thought to be a grass fire.
Shortly before 7 p.m., members of the Chattanooga Fire Department responded to the area of 1000 12th Street on a reported grass fire near the railroad tracks. The first unit responding requested additional resources to respond based upon the amount and type of smoke visible. This brought five additional fire companies.
Captain Jonathan Lehman of Squad one was the first unit on scene and reported that several city of Chattanooga garbage trucks on fire. Ten trucks were parked side by side under a metal roof inside the fenced off work area. Crews had to force open the locked gate in order to get close enough to the burning vehicles.
Crews used several hand-held hose lines to control and extinguish the fire. The fire was brought under control in less than 20 minutes after the first units arrived on scene.
Once the fire was under control, crews worked to control the contaminated runoff from the trucks, that included fuel and oil from the garbage trucks. All together a total of five trucks were damaged by the fire. Some were more heavily damaged than others. In fact two were able to driven away.
The cause of the fire is under investigation. Captain Henry McElvain is leading the investigation. Damages are estimated at $90,000 for the five trucks. A new garbage truck costs approximately $350,000.