Big fire destroys waste management office near Ferndale

Fire destroys transfer station at Republic Services in Ferndale

The remains of a transfer station after an overnight fire at Republic Services on Thursday, June 30, in Ferndale.
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The remains of a transfer station after an overnight fire at Republic Services on Thursday, June 30, in Ferndale.

Fire consumed the administrative offices of Republic Services’ waste transfer center on Slater Road near Interstate 5 early Thursday, June 30.

“Lummi Law and Order called it in; they saw the flames from above the trees,” said Division Chief Ben Boyko of Whatcom County Fire District 7. “I saw flames coming from the entire roof and a large plume of smoke that I could see from Slater.”

One member of Fire District 7’s volunteer support team suffered an injury that required treatment but not hospitalization, said Boyko, who served as incident commander.

Firefighters received the alarm about 2:20 a.m. Thursday. Crews of the first arriving units deployed large hoses and used truck-mounted nozzles to pour heavy streams of water on the fire.

“It was a defensive fire from the start, and we were able to put the fire out from the outside,” Boyko said.

Some 20 firefighters and additional support personnel assisted with firefighting operations. Whatcom County Fire District 8 sent an engine company from its Marietta station.

Cause of the fire and a damage estimate were unknown pending an investigation, said District 7 Chief Gary Russell.

“It was a total loss, including their scales” to weigh the trucks, Russell said.

In the meantime, garbage and recycling trucks that usually go for weighing to Republic Services subsidiary Regional Disposal Co. are being weighed at RDC competitor Recycling & Disposal Services, located next door. RDS owner Larry McCarter said he wanted to make sure that the fire didn’t affect countywide waste disposal.

McCarter urged those who haul their own trash to use RDS or one of several “drop boxes” operated around Whatcom County by garbage hauler Sanitary Services Co.

Russell said District 7 firefighters extinguished a small electrical fire at Republic Services on June 20. Flames apparently started in electrical wiring and burned into the attic space above the offices.

Robert Mittendorf: 360-756-2805, @bhamMitty