Stupid mistake leads to crazy scenes in Aussie street

The residential street was full of rubbish after the garbage truck caught on fire due to a resident's mistake.

A mountain of rubbish had to be dumped in a Perth street after a garbage truck caught on fire thanks to residents throwing into a bin a computer item containing batteries.

Two firefighting crews rushed to the garbage truck when it caught on fire just before 10 am on Tuesday in Padbury, in the city's northwest. They were able to extinguish the fire within five minutes before making the area safe, a Department of Fire and Emergency Services spokesperson confirmed to Yahoo News.

The cause of the fire was deemed to be "a discarded battery" located inside a computer keyboard thrown into a recycling bin. The garbage truck driver was forced to dump the entire contents of the truck onto the residential street.

Left, pile of rubbish can be seen on the residential street. Right, the melted computer keyboard which included the lithium batteries can be seen.
Lithium batteries inside a computer keyboard are believed to have started the fire in the garbage truck. Source: Facebook

"The driver’s vigilant behaviour and subsequent action saved this from becoming a more serious incident," a City of Joondalup spokesperson told Yahoo News Australia, confirming no workers were injured.

'Batteries can cause truck fires'

The council shared images on their Facebook page and warned residents the incident was a "timely reminder" that inappropriately discarding electronic waste or "batteries can cause truck fires", forcing the worker to dump the garbage onto the street which is a "standard industry practice". The rubbish has since been removed.

"Lithium batteries and items are generally too small to identify within a load," the spokesperson said, explaining the batteries often go undetected.

Aussies use thousands of tonnes of batteries every year, with more than 18 million disposed of in Western Australia alone, according to the WA government.

Prevent garbage bin fires by correct disposal

Batteries are considered hazardous waste as the toxic metal contents can leak, contaminating soil and ground water and therefore require specialised disposal. Although some batteries are rechargeable, the majority need to be disposed of and should never be placed in kerbside bins or end up in landfill.

Last month batteries were to blame for another garbage bin fire which broke out in Bardwell Valley in Sydney. Firefighters say these garbage truck fires caused by batteries are increasing.

"Lithium-ion batteries in particular, when they're crushed [and] dropped can become very unstable and ignite with explosive force," Superintendent Dewberry told ABC Radio Sydney. "They are an intense fire."

Batteries can be disposed of in purpose-built bins found in most councils across the country. More information on your nearest battery recycle locations can be found here.

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