No one injured at Foss Recycling

An explosion in a vehicle being loaded into a tractor trailer of scrap metal caused multiple fires at Foss Recycling in Havelock Tuesday morning.

No one was injured in the explosion at the site on Lake Road just south of Havelock.

“When it blew up, I felt the wind from it,” said Claude Fenner, of Harlowe, a customer who happened to be standing next to the truck when it blew. “It just blew. It sounded like a bomb.”

According to Denise Bonogafsky, cashier at Foss Recycling, the truck had just been loaded into a large trailer bin when the explosion happened about 10:15 a.m. It was about to be weighed on the scales, Bonogafsky said.

“We did manage to get the truck unhooked,” said Zeke Combs, manager at the business.

The driver of the 18-wheeler was uninjured. The four employees of the company who were on the scene were also uninjured.

Combs lauded the efforts of crane operator Santos Coronado for using his crane to lift the burning hulk of the pickup truck out of the trailer bin and onto the ground nearby. Coronado also lifted other burning debris out of the bin while it was on fire.

“He used the crane to set that car down out there on the ground to keep everything else from burning up,” said Fenner. “That’s a good man right there. I wouldn’t get rid of him for nothing. He got that thing out of there and slowed that fire down. I don’t think he wanted to, but he got it out.”

Combs said that Coronado was momentarily trapped between the burning heaps of debris and the burning bin.

“I went back there and put some dirt down enough to where he could get out of there,” Combs said.

According to witnesses, Coronado had just loaded the last vehicle hulk onto the bin and had backed away from it when the explosion happened.

“That crane operator wasn’t anywhere near the truck when it blew up and started the fire,” said Fenner. “He had loaded it and the next thing you knew, it blew up.”

The fire sent flames about 20 feet into the air briefly and sent deep black smoke skyward.

Township Six Volunteer Fire Department brought three trucks to the fire, and Havelock Fire and Rescue brought a truck. About a dozen firefighters worked to put the fire out.

Lake Road was closed to traffic in the area as fire hoses stretched down the roadway. Firefighters were on the scene for about 2 1/2 hours.

According to Bonogafsky, all of the vehicles are drained of fluids like oil and gasoline before they are loaded.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.