A Waste Management facility in the southwest metro burned all night and continues to belch smoke.
A Waste Management building in Norwood Young America and its tons of garbage and recyclables inside burned throughout the night and late into the morning Tuesday, in a second recent fire that is the death knell for the facility, a company official said.
The fire erupted about 11:30 p.m. Monday inside the steel and concrete building near Hwy. 212, charring the contents of the transfer station and sending a steady stream of smoke skyward, said Fire Chief Steve Zumberge. No one was inside at the time.
“We will not rebuild the facility,” said Julie Ketchum, Minnesota spokeswoman for the Houston-based company, suspecting that the building will ultimately be leveled and the property put up for sale.
In the short-term, the garbage will go directly to the disposal site and not go through a transfer station, she said. The recyclables also will bypass the transfer stage and go straight to Waste Management’s Twin Cities recycling site, she said. Customers’ garbage collection will not be affected, Ketchum added.
Ketchum said the fire nine months ago cost Waste Management “a significant” amount of money to get the building back in operation.
Transfer stations such as this one typically have no more than three or four employees, according to Ketchum. She said the company will do its best to figure out how they will stay on with Waste Management.
Shortly after 10 a.m., the fire chief said fire fighters were “still at it out here” tending to what’s left of the fire. “Now it’s a smoke machine,” Zumberge said.
Fire crews were emptying the building’s many truckloads of garbage and recyclables, then spreading out and hosing down the contents, Zumberge added.
The chief said the cause of the first fire centered on a truck bringing something that was still burning to the building, he said.
As for this blaze, Zumberge said, nothing official has been determined, but he wants the public to “make sure their garbage is not burning” before leaving it out for disposal.
Paul Walsh • 612-673-4482