Hot metal slag to blame for fire at old recycling building

Capital City Fire/Rescue personnel fight a fire early Thursday at the former recycling center at the Juneau landfill. (Photo courtesy Fire Marshal Daniel Jager)

Capital City Fire/Rescue firefighters battle structure fire early Thursday at the former recycling center at the Juneau landfill. (Photo courtesy Fire Marshal Daniel Jager)

Hot metal slag likely ignited combustible materials and caused a fire early Thursday at the Juneau landfill.

Capital City Fire/Rescue responded at about 5:30 a.m. Thursday to a reported structure fire at 5600 Tonsgard Court.

Assistant Fire Chief Tod Chambers said damage was contained to the former recycling center.

“One of the workers that arrived and found the fire attempted to extinguish it with an extinguisher before we got there, realized it was more than the extinguisher could handle, backed out and called us,” he said.

The building is currently being torn down.

“The side that hadn’t been demolished yet is the side that’s closest to the office building, kind of where you drive over the scale,” Chambers said. “That side hadn’t been demolished yet, there’s actually office space in there, there’s a below-grade incinerator in there, so there was working space in there and there was wooden structure that was inside.”

According to the fire marshal’s office, the likely culprit of the fire was metal torch cutting. Hot slag material dropped down and caused combustible materials to smolder, which in turn flared up and ignited the wooden structure.

Chambers says fire crews managed to get the fire out in about 30 minutes.

“A lot of water got flowed in a hurry so it worked and nobody got hurt, so that’s the best part.”

Firefighters left the scene by about 7:15 a.m.

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