Near miss after battery ignites in refuse truck in Plymouth

We are being reminded not to throw batteries in the bin

Author: Chris BakerPublished 8 hours ago
Last updated 8 hours ago

“Don’t put batteries in your bins” That is the simple message from the Council’s refuse collectors as a crew escaped serious injury after a fire in their lorry. While collecting waste in a built up area of the city, one of the loaders smelt smoke coming from the back of the truck.

They immediately got clear of the vehicle and called the fire service. A fire engine put out the fire before any lasting damage was done. The cause of the fire was soon found to be an old laptop battery that someone had put out in their green recycling bin.

Plymouth City Council is reminding us that batteries of all kinds should not be put in any bin, but instead taken to one of the authority’s household waste recycling centres. One crew member said: “It was certainly a scary moment but it could have been a lot, lot worse.

“I’m just glad we spotted it when we did before the fire took over. “The compaction mechanism in the back of the vehicle is so powerful that if you put a battery in, it gets crushed and if then leaks out on to something flammable, generally in the recycling waste, it’s not long before we’ve got a big problem. “I know it might seem easy to put little tiny batteries in the bin, but on behalf of all the guys I work with, please don’t.”

Crew Manager Carol Frances, of Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service, added: “Batteries in household waste and recycling can lead to large scale and protracted fires. “These incidents are often very challenging for fire services to deal with and can cause significant disruption to communities.

“Many people may not realise the importance of the correct disposal of batteries so this simple advice can make a real difference in preventing waste fires.”

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