Fire has burned through three tonnes worth of waste in the back of a garbage truck, blanketing parts of the Ilawarra in smoke and prompting a road closure before firefighters were able to access the flames.
The fire took hold inside a Remondis truck that was performing Wollongong council’s on-call household cleanup service Wednesday afternoon. Spewing smoke, it pulled over at North Dalton Park, Towradgi about 3pm.
Fire and Rescue NSW Inspector Andy Barber said the truck’s hydraulic system failed, making it incapable of opening. "Usually we’d tip the contents out, put them on the ground and put [the fire] out that way,” he said. “But we just can’t get at it. If we could … we’d have it out in five minutes.”
Pioneer Road was closed and residents of a nearby apartment complex were asked to close their doors and windows to guard again poor air quality.
Firefighters ultimately used a power saw to cut access holes into the sides of the truck.
The fire was extinguished by about 6.30pm, after fire crews cut into the truck and removed about 80 per cent of its contents.
Insp Barber said the prime mover had remained functional throughout and it was possible this could be salvaged.