A city of Berkeley recycling truck dumped a heap of flaming cardboard onto Channing Way west of Channing Circle on Tuesday morning.
About 8:45 a.m., the driver noticed that something was smoking in the back of the truck and dumped the load onto the street in front of the Beta Theta Pi boarding house. Berkeley Fire Department responded to the incident and doused the ignited pile with foam and water, according to BFD Battalion Chief Paul Cavagnaro.
“Someone yelled ‘fire, fire, fire,’ so I just ran,” said UC Berkeley junior Scott Walsh, who lives in the boarding house. “Everyone was pounding on our doors.”
Although uncommon, fires in the back of recycling trucks can begin when certain household products combine in the trucks and ignite, said Richard Anderson, a supervisor at the city’s Solid Waste Management Division.
Visible flames were extinguished as of 9:15 a.m., but BFD firefighters continued to inspect the charred refuse. No damage was caused to any of the surrounding buildings.