Nova Scotia

Crews extinguish smouldering fire at Chester dump

Firefighters extinguished a blaze at the Kaizer Meadow landfill in Chester, N.S., on Monday afternoon but it rekindled overnight. The second fire is now out.

Firefighters extinguished blaze at Kaizer Meadow landfill on Monday afternoon but it rekindled overnight

A fire was smouldering Tuesday morning at the Kaizer Meadow dump in Chester, N.S. (Municipality of Chester/Facebook)

Crews from five fire departments extinguished a smouldering fire at the Kaizer Meadow dump in Chester, N.S., on Monday afternoon and Tuesday morning.

The fire was first spotted on Monday afternoon just before 2 p.m., and crews from Chester, New Ross, Chester Basin, Vaughan and Windsor spent about five hours trying to douse the flames with water from the nearby sedimentation ponds.

Chester Volunteer Fire Department Chief Everett Hiltz said excavators were moving the garbage while fire crews sprayed water on it, and firefighters thought they had it extinguished.

"There was no sign of anything else, but apparently there was still some smoulder somewhere buried deep in the pile," Hiltz said.

Firefighters from the Chester Volunteer Fire Department got a call at 6:42 a.m. Tuesday to return to the landfill because smoke was spotted again. They had the fire extinguished by about 8:45 a.m. and the dump was reopened by noon.

Excavators were at the dump on Monday to help in the effort to douse the fire. (Municipality of Chester/Facebook)

Hiltz said Tuesday morning there was an adequate water supply at the landfill to help extinguish the fire.

"It's just going to be continuously pumping water from their water supply up over it while the excavators tear it apart until we're sure that we've got it down deep enough that we're down at the source."

A thunder and lightning storm moved through the area on Monday afternoon, but Hiltz said it's hard to say for sure whether that ignited the fire, or whether it was items in the garbage, such as batteries, that sparked the flames.

"You never really know what it was. It's literally like finding a needle in a haystack."

Hiltz said the part of the landfill that is open at the surface is "not a massive space," but it is connected to a much larger mound of trash underground.

Christa Rafuse, the director of infrastructure and operations for the Municipality of Chester, said in an email the suspected cause was items that are not meant to go in a landfill, such as lithium batteries or flares.

Rafuse said landfill fires are not uncommon, and that most are extinguished quickly by staff. Larger fires that require the help of fire departments are infrequent, she said.