Press Club

Firefighters Douse Flaming Garbage in Front of Gunston Middle School

(Updated 4:25 p.m.) Local firefighters handle all sorts of hazards. Today, one such hazard was a flaming pile of garbage.

The rubish’s rapid oxidation happened around noon today in front of Gunston Middle School, near Arlington Ridge. The blazing bags of refuse were reportedly dumped by a trash truck after the driver noticed smoke and flames coming from the back.

“He dumped his load that was on fire,” a witness tells ARLnow. “He did the right thing. Saved his truck.”

The quick thinking spared the truck and a bigger conflagration, but it left big mess in the Gunston parking lot. Arlington and Alexandria firefighters worked to douse the combusting crud, leaving a soggy heap of waste to be cleaned up.

The trash fire, no doubt seen by a metaphor by some, was caught on camera by Washington Post media reporter Jeremy Barr.

Arlington County police blocked S. Lang Street, in front of the school, during the firefighting effort. A fire department spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for additional information.

Later this afternoon, the county’s Department of Environmental Services shed some light on what likely caused the fire — rechargeable batteries tossed into a recycling bin — and provided some advice on how to properly recycle such batteries.

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