A Fresno city garbage truck caught on fire Wednesday afternoon after a mechanical failure to one of its lifting arms.
The incident happened at 2:30 p.m. on Waterford Avenue, west of Willow Avenue and south of Behymer Avenue in northeast Fresno.
A garbage truck driver told Fresno Fire that he was in the middle of picking up recycling bins on his route when he noticed the mechanical arms froze while picking up a bin and stopped working after he extended it.
“He heard a loud pop,” Fresno Fire Department spokesman Jonathan Lopez said. “When he lifted his mirror to investigate, he saw some orange flames coming from the underside of the truck. He got out and tried to put it out with a fire extinguisher.”
But the driver stopped trying to put out the flames after hearing a loud hissing sound. He retreated to a safe location.
The garbage truck exploded as firetrucks arrived. Firefighters tried to put the fire out, Lopez said, but water from the fire engine was mixing with the oil and hydraulic fluid that was leaking, causing more concern.
Content inside the garbage truck was still burning, but firefighters couldn’t get it to open.
A hazardous materials team was called to put absorbent on the oil and the Fresno County Environmental Health was called.
A water district team came to “make sure contaminated water doesn’t enter the drinking supply or the storm drain that could get in the ponding basin or San Joaquin River.”
Solid Waste division city workers also arrived to help.
A crane truck lifted the back end of the truck and dumped the garbage onto the street as firefighters put out the fire.
A vehicle in the neighborhood had minor damage.
No injuries were reported, Lopez said. Crews were on scene for three hours.
Three engines and a ladder truck responded to the scene.