By SUE SUCHYTA
Sunday Times Newspapers
ALLEN PARK – An Ontario semi-truck carrying compacted trash to a Monroe County landfill caught fire during morning rush hour June 28, closing a section of westbound I-94 east of the Southfield Freeway.
Deputy Fire Chief Edward Conn said the Fire Department responded at 6:37 a.m., when the truck’s rear wheels locked and caught fire, and flames spread to the compacted trash in the Galib Transport Truck from Brampton, Ontario.
“We had a difficult time extinguishing the fire because the load was compressed together,” Conn said at the City Council meeting that evening.
Because there were no water hydrants in the area, Allen Park and Taylor fire departments shuttled water tank trunks to the scene.
Allen Park Department of Public Services sent an end-loader to the scene to remove the compacted trash from the truck so it could be extinguished.
“An equipment operator named Joe came to help us and he literally put himself in harm’s way by moving the flaming debris around and away from the truck,” Conn said, “which allowed our firefighters to continue to work and get water on that.”
Conn said later in the morning Allen Park experienced a water main break at a hydrant site from which water was drawn for the water tank units responding to the freeway fire.
“The (Allen Park) Water Department stepped up and immediately got that hydrant back in service,” Conn said. “Without the Water Department, the Fire Department can’t put fires out.”
Allen Park police and the Michigan Department of Transportation worked together to close the freeway and reroute traffic.
Metropolitan Detroit Airport dispatched a 3,000-gallon water tanker, which was canceled en route at 8:50 a.m.
Allen Park Fire Department left the scene at 9:18 a.m. while MDOT and Boulevard and Trumbell Towing of Detroit continued efforts to clear the scene.
(Sue Suchyta can be reached at [email protected])