Saturday Night Fire Destroys Waste Management Building

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Firefighters from three departments battled a fire at the Waste Management site Saturday night (Aug. 17) in Tontitown.

The report of a fire came in shortly after 9 p.m. and the first firefighters at the scene on the 900 block of Arbor Acres Avenue called for backup.

"The whole thing was on fire," said Battalion Chief James Tessaro. "The roof had already fallen in, and it's just a matter of throwing a lot of water on it."

Waste Management officials said the fire started in the Scale House where trucks are weighed, but the cause hasn't been determined. George Wheatly, Director of Public Affairs for Waste Management, said the facility's scale and electronic equipment suffered damage.

"Anything from copiers, scanners, a lot of records," said Wheatley who added most of their records are backed up with the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality. "It'll be quite a bit of damage."

A 5NEWS reporter on the scene said the building was fully engulfed in flames and firefighters were battling the fire from inside and outside the building. Smoke and ashes hung heavy in the air.

Wheatley said all of the facility's employees had left the building by shortly after 4 p.m. Saturday afternoon. An employee's sister, who lives near the facility, called the employee to report the fire.

The site does have security cameras, and Wheatley said he hopes the footage will help determine what started the fire.

"We do have a security system back at our office in Houston and we’re checking it to see it will help us with ascertaining the origination of the fire,” Wheatley said.

Wheatley said a temporary facility will be set up in the meantime, and the company will be accepting waste Monday morning.

This is one of four landfills Waste Management has in the state.

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