As if being around rotting trash in the summer sun wasn’t bad enough, the Springfield Volunteer Fire Department had to combat flaming garbage on Sunday night.
Fire Chief Chad Zimmerman was actually the first to spot the smoke coming from the Sarpy County Landfill, located at 14414 S. 156th St., while he was driving on Highway 50 at about 5 p.m.
The fire department arrived on scene and eventually requested mutual aid from Gretna and Louisville. As the flames roared on, the department also requested aid from Bellevue, Weeping Water and Manley.
It was not a pleasant experience, Zimmerman said.
“We were there until 2 a.m.,” he said. “When I called it in, the flames were 50 feet into the sky and it was getting bigger.”
Zimmerman described the stench of the blazing trash as something out of a nightmare, and crews tried to stay downwind of the odor to shield their olfactory senses.
He said he isn’t certain as to what could have cause the fire, but there was no property damage beyond the burned garbage.
Combating a trash fire is not simple, especially when fighting a literally uphill battle. Zimmerman said such a fire is nearly impossible to extinguish with water alone, and must be smothered with dirt to be contained.
“Everybody did a great job, and it was not a fun time out there,” he said. “We got to work with a couple departments we never usually work with, and they did a good job.”
JD Rexroad, who runs Midlands Sports Paragliders out of Bellevue, also saw the smoke and took off from his launch pad to see what was up.
Rexroad shot a video of the plume of trashfire smoke rising into the summer night and the subsequent efforts to extinguish it.