Black smoke was seen pouring out of the back on a bin lorry in Yorkshire after a power bank portable charger set fire to rubbish.
The crew of the East Riding Council lorry were faced with the emergency out on their round in Bridlington.
Crew member Paul Medforth said: “We’d just emptied two green wheelie bins into the back of the wagon when we saw smoke coming out of one of the bins.
“Whatever it was had set fire to the waste inside the wagon and black smoke started pouring out the back, so we knew we had to act quickly.”
The quick-thinking crew flagged down a nearby wheelie bin washing van and asked the owner, Alan Yates, to dampen down the waste with his pressure washer.
They were then able to drive the lorry back to their base at Carnaby where they dumped the still-smouldering load into a puddle and sprayed it with a hosepipe to extinguish the fire.
They discovered that the cause of the fire was a power bank used to charge other devices including mobile phones, tablets, laptops, mp3 players and mp4 players.
Paul said: “The fire could have been a lot worse. If it hadn’t been for Alan being there at the right time with his pressure washer the wagon might have gone up in flames.
“People might not understand the dangers of putting batteries in their bins, but they are a real fire risk.”
Now the council is appealing to residents to not put batteries of any kind into green bins, but take them to its recycling sites instead.
Paul Tripp, head of streetscene services at East Riding of Yorkshire Council, said: “Our crew acted extremely quickly to prevent a much bigger fire and the potential loss of one of our bin lorries.
“As we’re coming up to the time of year when lots of batteries will get used for new presents and gadgets, we are encouraging residents not to bin them, but instead to recycle them at shops or household waste recycling sites.”
People can take all used batteries to:
Household waste recycling sites – All 10 sites in the East Riding have dedicated battery bins that can take all types.
Local shops and supermarkets – Most stores that sell batteries will have a battery recycling point or container which residents can put their used ones into.
To find your nearest location to recycle batteries just visit the website bringbackheavymetal.co.uk/drop-off and type in your town or postcode.