Load catches fire in recycling truck

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SAN DIEGO — A recycling truck had to dump its load in the street Tuesday after the driver realized it was on fire.

The truck, operated by the city Environmental Services Department, was picking up curbside recycling  in the Mira Mesa area at about 11 a.m. when the driver noticed smoke coming out of the back. The driver called the fire department and headed for the closest fire station, Fire Station 44 on Black Mountain Road.

Firefighters told the driver to empty the load in the street near the fire station, Fire-Rescue Department Maurice Luque said. When the truck opened the recycling compartment, flames shot out, Luque said.

The trash pile measured about 20 feet long, 35 feet wide and 6 feet high, Luque said. Firefighters hosed down the burning paper and plastic. Police shut down the road for more than 90 minutes until the fire was extinguished and the recycling could be loaded into other trucks, police said. No one was injured.

Police reopened the roadway just before 1 p.m.

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