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County landfill catches fire: Cause remains unknown, no injuries reported, officials say

A fire that broke out at the Marquette County Landfill on Thursday morning is shown. Firefighters had the blaze under control as of 10 a.m. As of late Thursday afternoon, MCSWMA director of operations Brad Austin said all flames were out, but crews were still working on controlling hot spots. (Journal photo by Ryan Spitza)

MARQUETTE — A fire broke out at the Marquette County Landfill early Thursday morning, but no injuries were reported, officials say.

The Marquette County Solid Waste Management Authority said it was notified of the fire just after 5:30 a.m.

Firefighters had the blaze contained at the site located off of County Road 480 just after 10 a.m.

As of late Thursday afternoon, MCSWMA director of operations Brad Austin said all flames were out, but crews were still working on controlling hot spots.

Austin said landfill fires aren’t uncommon, and a cause is unknown at this time.

“They do occur, and (a cause) is something we’ll be investigating over the course of the next few days,” he said. “We talk a lot about the importance of things like household hazardous waste, batteries and other things we have recycling programs for. For example, lithium ion batteries in particular are notorious for starting fires. But at this point, we do not know the cause.”

No major structural or equipment damage was sustained, with the exception of a small barn on the site.

“Everyone is safe,” Austin said. “All things considered, everybody is safe and that’s most important.”

While the cause remains under investigation, Austin said it’s a good time to remind people about responsible recycling and the programs MCSWMA offers.

“We sent out our Marquette County Recycling Guide a couple of months ago, and included in that was a hazardous waste postcard, (that has information about) different items like batteries, light bulbs, those types of things,” he said. “… We want to emphasize again that we haven’t determined a cause, but certainly, it’s always important to make sure those items you have — that you don’t see in curbside recycling — we do have programs for those. And we encourage those items to be properly disposed (of.)”

Sands Township Fire Department, Chocolay Township Fire Department, Marquette Township Fire Department and the Negaunee Township Fire Department all responded to the scene. The Salvation Army of Marquette County was also on hand to support the first responders with food and refreshments.

“Between the authority staff, first responders and the fire departments, everybody sprung in first thing this morning,” Austin said. “We appreciate the efforts of everyone involved. It was a solid, coordinated effort to get this under control.”

Ryan Spitza can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 248. His email address is rspitza@miningjournal.net.

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