Homer Volunteer Fire Department firefighters on Friday, May 1, 2020, put out a fire in a trailer of trash that jackknifed while being hauled out after it caught fire inside the Homer Transfer Station in Homer, Alaska. (Photo by Michael Armstrong/Homer News)

Homer Volunteer Fire Department firefighters on Friday, May 1, 2020, put out a fire in a trailer of trash that jackknifed while being hauled out after it caught fire inside the Homer Transfer Station in Homer, Alaska. (Photo by Michael Armstrong/Homer News)

Trash trailer catches fire at Homer Transfer Station

Homer Transfer Station workers pulled a burning trash container out of the station building this past Friday and kept the building from catching on fire.

However, fighting the fire got complicated when the container on a trailer jacknifed and slipped off the road outside the transfer station.

“In the attempt to try not to get the building on fire … they were a little hasty on the corner,” said Homer Volunteer Fire Chief Mark Kirko. “It was off the side and tipped over almost.”

The truck driver was not injured in the accident, Kirko said. No firefighters were injured in fighting the fire. The fire shut down the garbage and recycling transfer site on the Sterling Highway near Baycrest Hill while firefighters attacked the fire. Homer area trash is dumped in a large building and then hauled in trailers up to the Central Peninsula Landfill in Soldotna.

When Homer Volunteer Fire Department firefighters arrived on scene around 2:45 p.m. on May 1, they found the trailer partly off the road with flame and smoke coming from it. Kirko said the trash trailer contained household and business trash and not any hazardous waste. The smoke from the fire smelled of burning plastic and other debris.

“Every time you come to one of these things you have to expect it could be that, a little more hazardous than normal household waste,” Kirko said.

Firefighters sprayed down the fire in the trash trailer to knock it down enough to move the trailer out of the ditch and to a nearby parking lot.

“We were lucky we were able to slow it down enough to get the trailer out of that ditch so we didn’t get any further damage to anything else,” Kirko said.

Once the trash trailer was out of the ditch, Kachemak Emergency Services provided mutual aid with its ladder truck. The ladder has a hose nozzle at the end, and firefighters extended the ladder over the smoldering trailer and put out the fire.

“It is so dangerous to put so many firefighters into that trailer,” Kirko said.

Remarkably, the fire did not heavily damage the trailer, and transfer site workers were able to haul it up to Soldotna on Saturday, Kirko said.

Eight Homer firefighters worked the fire with one fire engine and tanker with assistance from Kachemak Emergency Services firefighters. Kirko said because of the nature of the fire the cause cannot be determined.

Reach Michael Armstrong at marmstrong@homernews.com.

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