Firefighters worked to extinguish a fiery pile of garbage in the parking lot at Dairy Queen just before noon Thursday.
The Saukville Fire Department arrived on the scene at roughly 11:45 a.m. Thursday in response to a blaze in the Dairy Queen parking lot on Foster Drive.
Garbage inside a Waste Management vehicle apparently ignited in the rear of the truck, according to Saukville Police Chief Bill Meloy.
Dairy Queen employees said the driver of the truck that started on fire had not left the vehicle before noticing the smoke. The employees said they noticed the vehicle enter the lot, likely to pick up the business' trash, and then drive away from the building — probably to get the burning load as far away as possible — before dumping the garbage.
Lynn Morgan, a spokesperson for WM, said the driver of the vehicle did an "excellent job" following the company's protocol in such a situation, taking the following steps:
- Call 911;
- Find a safe spot to eject the load, away from people and buildings;
- Move the truck away from the burning load.
Another driver from Veolia had been at Dairy Queen, and the WM driver entered the building to let him know of the situation so the other truck could be moved to make room for fire department vehicles.
"We really appreciate the fact that the town (sent their own loader to clean the mess)," Morgan said, adding the company would have done so if needed.
As of 12:15 p.m., the flames had diminished and crews were still spraying water on the smoking pile. Morgan said the company sent an additional truck to pick up the burnt load and deliver it to the landfill.
What caused the fire?
"We don't know in this case, but some of the things that can typically result in this (include) someone cleaning out a fireplace that still has hot ashes, or a charcoal fired grill," she said.
Morgan said these types of incidents occur — but "thankfully" not with much frequency.
"From time to time, they don’t happen often — thankfully," she said. "The priority is public safety. If (staff) realize this is occurring they need to take steps to try to get … off of the roadways and then to manage the fire itself."