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Early morning dumpster fire in Fairview linked to dumpster diving

September 15, 2016


Thursday morning (September 15) Vancouver firefighters were called to an apartment building in the Fairview neighbourhood to deal with a fire in the building’s dumpster.

At 1:57 a.m. my friend Mauricio, who lives in the apartment building in the 1100 block of West 11th Avenue, photographed firefighters responding to a blazing fire in his building’s large Smithrite dumpster, located in the alley, beside the building’s recycling bins.

In the grainy, over-exposed flash photo, smoke can be seen rising out of the glowing interior of the open dumpster as the silhouetted and retro-reflective stripped figure of a firefighter approaches.

Mauricio explained that firefighters referred to the fire as an “easy one” and put it out with a large hand-held extinguisher.

The fire might have had more serious consequences had not building management, earlier this year, significantly thinned out all the greenery behind their property. This pruning included cutting back the branches of a tree growing off to the side of the dumpster where the greatest amount of smoke can be seen in the photo.

Mauricio told me that another resident in his building reported seeing someone in the dumpster just prior to the fire but that this resident did not claim to have actually seen the dumpster diver starting the fire.

I can relate from personal experience that this building has (and always has had) one of the largest residential dumpsters in the area and that unless it’s quite full, a binner/dumpster diver, wanting to recover anything out of it, has little choice but to climb right into it.

This is the first time, to my knowledge, that a fire has occurred in this building’s dumpster—at least in the 12 years that I’ve been binning in the Fairview neighbourhood. I can also say that in all those 12 years this dumpster has never been locked.

Mauricio says that he, for one, would like to see this last fact change now and that he has asked his landlord to put a lock on the dumpster. Click the image to enlarge it.

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