Firefighters battle garbage trucks on fire in Smith County - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

Firefighters battle garbage trucks on fire in Smith County

CHAPEL HILL, TX (KLTV) - Firefighters were on the scene of a Smith County fire for more than three hours Sunday afternoon, trying to put out a blaze that started inside a parked garbage truck.

The fire broke out around 3:45 P.M. Sunday on FM 848 near County Road 2262, just outside of Chapel Hill.

Rhonda Harris, who works form Garbage Pickup Service, said the family owned business is just lucky it was not worse.

"They're all parked side by side," she said. "If you lose all of them that's going to cripple everything. The owner and the gentleman that lives behind him are the ones that ran up here and they both just started jumping in trucks and got them out of the way."

The owners said they are still confused about how it all started.

"They've been sitting here parked since Friday," Harris said. "There's absolutely no way we have any idea of knowing."

Investigators said what made this particular fire was especially difficult to fight because firefighters were unable to get complete access to the back of the garbage truck where the trash was burning. They said that is when they turned to the owner for help.

"It was pretty hard to get out for a little while because one of the trucks was full of trash," said Assistant Smith County Fire Marshal Connie Wasson. "One of the operators here that lives here was able to use his front-end loader so they could get one of the vehicles out of the way, so that they could get to the trash."

Officials said Friday's heavy rain helped keep the fire contained.

"Theres a building over there that it did not get into and the wooded area behind us," Wasson said. "I'm afraid if we hadn't had the rain, that we would have had a lot worse situation than we do right now."

Even with two of their trucks destroyed, the group said customers should not worry about pickup service being affected.

"We always have a spare," Harris said. "If you lose one, trash never stops. Everybody will pull together. We'll get it cleaned up in no time and we'll just go from there."

The cause of the fire remains under investigation. Officials remind residents that even with Friday's heavy rain, the burn ban remains in effect for Smith County.

Copyright 2013 KLTV. All rights reserved.

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