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Fire Crews Extinguish 500 Tons of Smoldering Trash Near Santee

Crews from the Santee and Lakeside fire departments remained on scene until about 2:10 a.m.

Fire crews extinguished about 500 tons of smoldering trash from a Waste Management facility near Santee early Saturday, fire officials said.

Heartland Fire & Rescue crews were called about 5:50 p.m. Friday to the burning mound of trash at the site's rear transfer facility, off O'Conner Street and North Johnson Avenue, just south of Gillespie Field, where the garbage was sorted, according to Heartland Fire & Rescue.

Firefighters started to douse the debris with water, but it continued to burn. Facility employees used skip loaders to move the smoldering trash from the facility and into an open area until the smoke became too thick and firefighters in masks and breathing apparatus took over, officials said.

Crews took several hours to move the trash and it was again doused with water. The San Diego Fire-Rescue Department's Hazmat team oversaw the operation and evaluated materials and the runoff for hazardous materials, but no potential problems were found, said Sonny Saghera, public information officer for Heartland Fire & Rescue.

Firefighters extinguished the garbage shortly after midnight and remained on scene until about 2:10 a.m., Saghera said. Crews from the Santee and Lakeside fire departments, the San Miguel Fire protection District and the SDFRD assisted.

No one was injured and the facility and nearby businesses were not threatened by the fire.

Once the fire was out, the trash was loaded into dumpsters and transferred to another location, Saghera said.

-City News Service

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