Oak Harbor garbage truck dumps burning trash on highway

Solid waste collectors with Oak Harbor deal with a load of garbage that started on fire Wednesday.

A solid waste collector with the city of Oak Harbor saved a garbage truck last Wednesday afternoon by dumping trash on the side of Highway 20.

Dave Zylstra said he was hauling a load of garbage to the transfer center in Coupeville when he started smelling smoke. He looked out his rearview mirror and saw that the smoke was coming from the back of his truck.

Zylstra said he stopped the truck and looked in the back. Flames were quickly spreading across the load of trash.

In order to save the costly truck from being demolished by fire, Zylstra unloaded the garbage at a pull-out near the intersection with Libbey Road.

Firefighters with Central Whidbey Fire and Rescue responded and used firehoses to douse the smoky trash with water.

Zylstra said he was unsure what sort of combustible material in the garbage may have sparked the fire.

It’s relatively rare for garbage to catch on fire; the last time it happened to an Oak Harbor garbage truck was about 10 years ago, he said.

As a result of the incident, the truck was spared, Zylstra said, but will need a good washing.