Driver’s lucky escape after vape pen sparks truck fire

A waste management and removal company – based in the south hams – has issued a warning to smokers after a vape pen sparked a fire in the back of a tipper truck. Last week one of the drivers from Leaf It Out was behind the wheel of the vehicle near Modbury when orange flames started emerging from the tipper. Speaking to Devon Live, Jessica Rigby who is Personal Assistant to the owner, said that the driver Max was in the tipper along with his dog.

She said: “We were doing our collection waste round on Friday (April 29) and during the round one of the bins that our driver had collected from one of the properties, contained vape pens which we weren’t aware of. “He noticed orange flames coming out of the back of the tipper. He pulled over into a space, and tilted the tipper so the fire wouldn’t spread to the hub, which is where he was sat.

He got out of the vehicle and called the fire service. Kingsbridge fire service arrived in nine minutes to assist and put out the fire. : Car crashes through wall and hangs over garden in Torquay

“Luckily no one was hurt, Max was in there with his dog but luckily they got out of the vehicle and managed to sit far away for safety. We got the tipper back to the yard and went through the rubble, we actually found more than 20 disposable vapes which contain lithium batteries.” Jessica says that although Leaf It Out has already instructed clients not to put batteries in their waste bins, not everyone realises this includes vapes.

Leaf It Out is now sending out new notices to clients in order to ensure they know vapes need to be properly disposed of. She said: “Many people don’t realise these vape pens do contain a battery in them. And, you can’t put normal batteries in the bin just the same as you can’t put disposable vapes in the bin, and that’s what happened.

“The tipper is still drivable but we wont be using it for the rounds. It’s going to need thousands of pounds worth of getting it sorted. The bed of the tipper is burnt, the netting around it which tops waste flying out is all burnt and the metal caging around it is bent from the heat.

Max was fortunate that he was able to pull over and get away from the tipper. He was just so lucky. “We’re now getting stickers printed to put on the bins, we have a welcome pack who wants to use our services, with a list of things you cannot put in the bin.

One of the things on there is batteries and electronics, we are now making it even clearer that it includes vapes. We are also doing a mass email to our clients to let them know vapes cannot go into the bins.

More than 20 vape pens were found

“We’re only a small business and we cannot afford for this to happen again.” Following the incident, Kingsbridge Fire Station issued a warning to the public, urging them not to put vape pens in the bin. In a statement on Facebook, a spokesperson for Kingsbridge Fire Station said: “This afternoon (April 29) we were mobilised into the neighbouring station ground of Modbury to a small vehicle fire.

On arrival our crew found a transit tipper pickup with a fire contained to its load area. “The quick thinking of the driver to raise the tipper bed up allowed for heat dispersal and slowed any possible chance of the fire to spread to the cab area. It is believed that the origin of fire may have been a disposed vaping unit.

Please DO NOT put batteries or electronic devices into general waste and dispose of them through official and safe methods.”

Driver's lucky escape after vape pen sparks truck fire“We’re only a small business and we cannot afford for this to happen again.”

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