Up in flames

By Josh Newton, Tahlequah Daily Press, Okla.
McClatchy-Tribune Information Services

Aug. 01--TAHLEQUAH -- Operations at Tahlequah's solid waste transfer station will be impacted by the loss of a 2008 Freightliner destroyed by fire Wednesday night.

Passersby reported seeing flames from the semi at about 8 p.m.Tahlequah firefighters were dispatched to the city's new transfer station, on the west State Highway 51 bypass, and found the cab of the semi engulfed in flames.

"We don't know what caused it at this time; that's still under investigation. But it did start in the cab area," said Fire Chief Ray Hammons.

The truck's trailer was damaged, as was its tarping system. The tail end of a trailer parked in front of the Freightliner was also damaged. Both trucks and their attached trailers were packed with trash and sitting to the north of the new transfer facility.

The trucks are used to carry local trash from Tahlequah to a Stilwell landfill, according to Les Ford, who oversees the solid waste facility for the city.

"Until we get another truck, we just have one vehicle, so we could be running behind time," said Ford. "It will put a lot of pressure on our guys."

Ford began filling out insurance paperwork on Thursday; the truck has full coverage, he said.

He has also placed an item on Monday's city council agenda asking to purchase a new truck.

"There's one sitting in Tulsa that, if this is approved, we could have mid-week next week," said Ford.

Firefighters used Class A foam to knock down the blaze Wednesday evening. Hammons said foam increases the extinguishing power of water by 10 times, and is often used when firefighters face petroleum products.

"We just had the truck in the shop," said Ford. "It had finished its third round of hauling trash. We really don't know what started it yet."

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Distributed by MCT Information Services



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