Cause of palette fire may never be known

The cause remains unknown of a fire that reduced a pile of palettes to ashes at the Waste Management Facility Sunday night.

The cause remains unknown of a fire that reduced a pile of palettes to ashes at the Waste Management Facility Sunday night.

Pete Barron, Red Deer Emergency Services platoon chief, said 13 city firefighters and eight members from the county responded to the incident just before midnight.

A relief crew was sent in around 8 a.m. and it took a total of 12 hours to ensure the fire was out completely.

The cause remains unknown but will not be investigated further, Barron said.

“I wouldn’t be surprised if somebody had gone out there and lit it up,” he noted.

“There would be no other real cause for it at that time of night.”

According to Janet Whitesell, waste management superintendant, damage was minimal.

“Really, we just lost the material,” she said. “There’s a reason why we don’t store the palettes beside buildings. So really, just the loss of material and having to do the fire fight.”

Some of the compost pile, which sits next to where the palettes were stored, was also burned.

This is not the first time palettes have caught fire at the landfill, although Whitesell said the previous incident occurred a number of years ago.

Palettes are stockpiled at the facility to divert usable items out of the landfill, Whitesell explained.

The pile is chipped two or three times a year into mulch that can be used elsewhere, such as in the compost pile.

Whitesell said a contractor had already been tentatively scheduled in the coming weeks to chip the palettes that caught fire.

Last year, the Waste Management Facility diverted 420 tonnes of palettes from the landfill.

ptrotter@bprda.wpengine.com