By Lawrence Powell
An explosion inside an EFR Disposal truck as it was heading into Bridgetown this morning caused the driver to stop, get out, and call for help when he saw smoke coming from the back of his rig.
EFR Disposal 1999 Ltd. manager Rodger Ward Sr, said it could have been a lot worse. The driver radioed in to the EFR Middleton headquarters and staff there called 911. The driver, meantime, compacted the loose load to slow down the fire while he waited for Bridgetown firefighters and the RCMP.
Police closed off the road while firefighters put out the fire which was so hot at one point it burned the paint off the outside of the truck. Huge clouds of smoke billowed from the truck across the road and across fields. When the blaze was extinguished, the truck was taken to Valley Waste in Lawrencetown where the load was dumped on the ground and spread out. Workers combed through the debris and discovered about 20 florescent orange spray paint cans had been included with somebody’s garbage.
Ward doesn’t understand why people continue to put potentially explosive waste in their garbage when they can take it for free to Valley Waste sites where they can be disposed of properly – without exposing his drivers to potentially deadly situations.
It’s not the first time it’s happened to an EFR Disposal truck. The last time the explosion took out the hydraulics and wiring. A few years back a load EFR took to the South Shore contained a propane cylinder, the size people use for barbecues. An excavator moving the garbage struck the propane tank with one tooth of the front-end loader. The tank exploded and took out all the windows in the excavator. Fortunately the operator of the excavator wasn’t injured.
“It’s something we always have to deal with,” said Ward. “The problem is always going to be there. It makes this job serious and dangerous.”
Not only that, the trucks are worth about $260,000. In this case it will mean a partial paint job. But he also pointed out this morning’s explosion tied up two police cruisers, firefighters, closed the road, and disrupted the EFR Disposal schedule.
But, perhaps worst of all, was the danger posed to the firefighter who had to get inside the truck to fight the blaze. If there had been any other explosive trash, and the fire was hot enough, he could have been killed.
“I don’t know what would have happened,” Ward said of that possibility.
Ward says he has an idea of where the explosive spray paint cans came from and he’s going to write a few letters to a few locations.