New Brunswick

Fredericton landfill fire lost roughly $75K in recyclables

The Fredericton Region Solid Waste Commission lost as much as $75,000 worth of recyclables in last week’s fire.

The source of the New Year's Eve fire at the recycling facility is still unknown

Brad Janes, a spokesperson at the Fredericton Region Solid Waste Commission, said the cause of the fire is still unknown. (CBC)

The Fredericton Region Solid Waste Commission lost as much as $75,000 worth of recyclables in last week’s fire, but also raises questions about the safety of the facility.

The fire broke out in the city’s main recycling facility at around 11:30 a.m. on Dec. 31 and raged for 12 hours.

The job of fighting the fire was made difficult because crews had to drive two kilometres to the nearest hydrant and haul back the water. The same thing happened two years ago, after a fire at the site's garbage facility.

Brad Janes, a spokesperson for the solid waste commission, says they don't have the authority to put up a hydrant.

"Where we are located, we arbitrarily can't put a fire hydrant, put it up and draw from the water source. It's just something that we don't have water source wise," he said.

The recycling facility is part of the Lincoln local service district and under the jurisdiction of the provincial government.

CBC News asked the province why there isn't a hydrant at the landfill, but have not yet heard a response.

The cause of the fire is still unknown.

The sun hangs low over the charred remains of the Fredericton Region Solid Waste landfill that burned New Year's Eve. (CBC)

One fire inspector on site said early indications point to a flammable object inside the recycling materials.

Janes says people must be extra vigilant about what they throw out and recycle.

"It's a living, breathing beast, the landfill truly is. And we just ask people to be cautious in that way. Make sure what's going in that black garbage bag isn't something that's flammable," he said.

Janes estimates between $50,000 and $75,000 worth of recyclables that were ready for export were lost.

The recycling building was also destroyed. Recyclables are now being baled in the garbage building.

There's been no effect on curbside pickup in Fredericton despite the damage caused by the fire.

​Janes said the solid waste commission is still waiting for an official word on the cause of the fire.

The final damage figure isn't known yet.

This isn’t the first fire at the landfill. There were previous fires in 2007 and 2013.

Janes said the fire prevention measures at the recycling building worked as they were supposed to during the fire.

“As far as the building goes, it was built to fire code for sure. It did what it was supposed to do. The doors shut, sprinkling, all of that went on,” he said.

“We have a sediment pond on site. The fire trucks aren't going to use that because once you get past the water and into silt it's going to clog any hoses. So, that's just where we are in our physical location.”

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