RAPID CITY, S.D. (KELO) — Throwing away hot trash can lead to a dangerous situation, which is what happened last Friday in Rapid City.

While doing their route late last week, a garbage truck driver noticed something in the truck was on fire, he drove to a safe location to dump the garbage.

“It was a super tough situation but the driver did such an awesome job, he did everything he was supposed to,” Ria Hannon, Solid Waste Education and Outreach Coordinator, said.

While this doesn’t happen all that often, Ria Hannon with the Waste Division says it can be very dangerous for the drivers.

“But it’s not only us that we are worried about. Of course the safety of our drivers and our vehicle but if you throw away something hot, that can is next to your house and your garage. It cannot only be us but it can be your house too,” Hannon said.

Each garbage truck driver here at the Rapid City Waste Division makes about 1,000 stops per day. Which makes for a busy week.

By being aware of what you throw into the trash, this kind of fire can be avoided.
Items like: grease, oil, ashes and lithium batteries can all ignite in the trash can.

“You can always check it after it’s been extinguished with your hand and make sure it is placed in the garbage can and after it is cool to the touch. Keep your garbage cans away from your house just in the event that we do have something in there. You don’t want it to extend into your private residence,” Battalion Chief Keith Trojanowski, Rapid City Fire Department, said.

It’s important to remember that something as small as throwing the wrong item in the trash could lead to a fire.

The Rapid City Solid Waste Division says no one was hurt and there was no damage to the garbage truck.