How common items you throw in the trash might create a danger for firefighters

How common items you throw in the trash might create a danger for firefighters (Courtesy: GTD Aquitaine / Wikipedia, via MGN Online)

DAYTON, OHIO (WKEF/WRGT) – Every day, firefighters risk their lives to keep the public safe, but how can the public keep them safe?

In a recent report from FOX 45, we told you about the growing danger of compressed natural gas (CNG) vehicles popping up in the Miami Valley. One of the prime users of a CNG truck is a garbage company. When a CNG vehicle catches on fire, the gas tanks can release, potentially sending a jet of flame 100 feet.

We spoke with a CNG expert Larry Stone about these vehicles, and how garbage trucks catch on fire. He gave us four examples of items people toss out, and how they can be a danger. Let’s call them our “No-throws”.

  • Granulated Chlorine - It is a common item for anyone with a pool. Stone said that 60 percent of residential trash has moisture. When that moisture reaches the chlorine, it can react to create heat. He said the bellowing effect of a garbage truck driving 60 MPH down the highway could fan the heat, and cause a fire to start from something in the trash haul. Stone recommends that people pour it down the drain, or flush it in the toilet.
  • Drain Cleaner – Stone said the active agent in drain cleaner, sodium hydroxide, can react similar to chlorine. He recommends pouring it down the drain for disposal. In his experience, someone tossed out a five-gallon pail of drain cleaner, and it started a fire.
  • Bleach and Ammonia – Individually they may be fine, but in combination they can be dangerous. Stone said using bleach and ammonia at the same time in your home could pollute the air and make it toxic. He said breathing the combination could make someone pass out. While this may not lead to a fire, it can cause a risky for situation for a service worker, or a firefighter if the garbage load were to catch on fire.
  • Batteries – They are commonly known as a “no-throw” item to keep out of your trash, but it still happens. Batteries that are thrown away carry the potential to spark, and start a fire in a trash load. It is recommended that batteries are recycled instead of thrown away.
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