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Contents of Garbage Truck Catch Fire on Mast Boulevard

Smoldering trash is a more common occurrence than most realize, fire officials say.

The contents of a garbage truck caught fire Monday morning just past the intersection of Mast Boulevard and Magnolia Avenue, likely caused by someone throwing something in a trash bin that shouldn't have been, according to Santee Fire Department Division Chief Dave Miller.

"People throw away a lot of things. ... When this happens, it's often charcoal briquets that are not completely extinguished, covered in other trash, and smolder," Miller said. "This isn't that uncommon; it happens a few times a year."

When the fire was noticed by the garbage truck crew, around 9:30 a.m., they dumped the load.

A tractor crew that was in the area helped spread the pile out and isolate areas that were burning, then a engine company hosed down the burning areas. Then, 's response team came on scene and cleaned the area up.

Mast Boulevard was closed between Jeremy Street and Los Ranchitos Road as the cleanup was under way.

Miller indicated that when trash is picked up on Mondays around Santee, sometimes charcoal briquets that have been used for a barbecue on Sunday, especially during football season, are the culprit. But, he said this fire couldn't be traced to a particular cause or source.

He had a few tips to prevent these kinds of accidents from happening:

"Don't throw away chemicals that can interact with other dangerous chemicals. Dispose of them through the Hazardous Materials pick up service that is offered by waste management companies," warned Miller. "And, if you are using charcoal briquets, make sure they are fully extinguished before disposing of them."

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