WATCH: Fire department puts out trash fire after truck dumps out burning contents in open parking lot

Published: May. 4, 2017 at 10:08 AM AKDT
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A garbage truck driver noticed something unusual this morning when the back of his truck, which was carrying a full dumpster, started smoking, and he saw flames.

The chief of the Anchorage Fire Department, Denis LeBlanc, said that the call came in at 8:26 a.m. Thursday morning, after the driver had dumped the burning garbage out into the parking lot at 3101 A Street.

LeBlanc said the fire was initially called in as a vehicle fire, but by the time units arrived on scene, which was about 8:34 a.m., the burning pile had been situated in an open area.

"At that point engine 4 pretty much just doused the burning trash until it was out," LeBlanc said.

Landon Forth, the active captain at the scene, said that the driver found what he thought was a safe location to dump, after the open dirt lot he initially wanted to go to was closed.

"When we showed up, it was actively burning, so up to this point all we've done is put water on it," Forth said.

LeBlanc said units "knocked the fire out" in minutes, and that no damage or injuries had been reported. As of 9:30 a.m. units on the scene were waiting for refuse crews to help haul away the burned garbage.

"There's no immediate sign of the cause yet," LeBlanc said. "But when the units return and file their reports we'll have a better idea."

"It's still undetermined how it started. There was a piece of magnesium that was burning initially but doubtful that that's what caused it," Forth said. "It could be anything form a discarded cigarette butt, somebody could have cleaned out a burn pit or a fire pit, those ashes stay warm for a long time."

Forth also said the driver remarked that he heard a loud "pop," and said that a discarded pressurized fuel container could have caused it.