Around 5:30 p.m. April 10, a maintenance employee at Oxford’s Rumpke Recycling Plant noticed an expanding fire where the outside recycling loads are dropped around the plant.
“The fire investigators believe it was something that was brought in, in one of the recycling loads,” Molly Yeager, Rumpke corporate communications coordinator said. “They call that a ‘hot load,’ so it is likely that it was something not acceptable in our program.”
Yeager said it is assumed the fire started in the tipping floor where the incoming loads of recyclables are dropped off, and the strong winds that night picked up the fire and blew it into the facility.
The St. Bernard Police Department responded immediately and at one point, there were over 125 firefighters on site of the massive fire, according to Steven Scherpenberg, St. Bernard Fire Department fire chief. Fire fighters were on the scene for a total of 26 hours.
“It’s a deep seeded fire,” Scherpenberg said. “There was some risk of building collapse so we had to bring in extra machinery.”
Scherpenberg said two fire fighters sustained injuries-one with a lip laceration and another with a hurt leg- and had to be transported for treatment.
They still have not been able to assess the damage and until the fire investigation is over, they will not know how to prevent this sort of incident from reoccurring. No injuries were reported from Rumpke employees, Yeager said.
According to Yeager, the effect on Rumpke is very large. The company is now shipping the 10,000 pounds of recyclables they receive each month to other facilities in the region, such as Dayton and Columbus. They are in an almost direct route, stopping at the Colerain landfill, so they can load them onto transfer trailers for shipping.
Yeager said the community should, “Continue Recycling and we’ll continue to pick it up. The residents and commercial customers won’t see any changes in their collection schedule and their recyclables will be recycled.”
Miami University senior Tony Baldrick said he noticed no difference in any collection schedules with his recyclables.