‘It was burnt, burnt’

Trash truck fire in Lincolnville sends black cloud into sky; one firefighter injured

Wed, 01/16/2019 - 4:30pm

LINCOLNVILLE — At 11:35 a.m., Jan. 15, firefighters in Lincolnville responded to a call for help from the driver of a burning garbage truck. When they arrived at a residence on the Greenacre Road, the cab and front tires were burning, sending thick, black smoke into the air, which noticed from afar.

The 11 firefighters, under the direction of their new fire chief, Don Fullington, III, who had been appointed just the night before by the Lincolnville Selectmen, went immediately to work, dousing the flames that were consuming the large truck.

The driver of the Bangor-based commercial trash hauler had been out of the truck tending to the residential dumpster when the fire began, said Fullington.

“We arrived on scene and extinguished the cab and engine fire,” said Fullington. “But the heat had ignited the trash in the compactor.”

Firefighter Pete Rollins climbed a ladder with a hydraulic extraction tool open the compactor and put water into it. Two firefighters were holding the ladder below, said Fullington. But the 80-pound tool suddenly popped out of place, the force of which knocked Rollins backward.

“The ladder went to the left and he went to the right,” said Fullington.

That force sent Rollins to the ground onto his back, and with the concern of injuries, the department called North East Mobile Health Services for help.

An ambulance crew arrived and quickly transported Rollins to Waldo County General Hospital, where x-rays were taken. Rollins did not suffer broken bones, said Fullington, but he has a sprained wrist, “and a very sore back.”

After tending to Rollins, the firefighters turned their attention back to the smoking truck, opened the compactor and filled it with water, a “matter of drowning it,” said Fullington.

Lincolnville had responded with a tanker, two engine trucks and its Access 1 truck.

Because of oil leaking from the truck, Fullington notified the Maine Department of Environmental Protection, a representative of which arrived at the scene, as well.

The elderly homeowners, meanwhile, were themselves returning from a doctor’s visit when the fire broke out.

“It was an unfortunate event,” said Fullington. “They were more than accommodating.”

Reach Editorial Director Lynda Clancy at lyndaclancy@penbaypilot.com; 207-706-6657