DeKalb, IL – Sprinkler system activates to help contain recycling center fire

Recycling materials inside Waste Management’s DeKalb facility caught fire recently and caused an estimated $150,000 in damage to the building, according to a DeKalb Fire Department news release. The department responded at 10:17 a.m. Saturday to a reported fire in the facility at 115 Simonds Ave.  DeKalb Fire Chief Eric Hicks said the fire started in the recycling sorting area inside the building. The cause of the fire is not yet known.  The fire was deeply seated in the recycling materials, which take up one-third of the building, according to the release.

“It’s a recycling center, so anything you can think of that’s recyclable is in there, paper, cardboard,” Hicks said. The building’s sprinklers were activated when firefighters arrived, but piles of the recycling materials had to be taken apart and wet down with a hose line for the fire to be extinguished, according to the release.  A special fan from Mutual Aid Box Alarm System Division 8 was used to remove the dense smoke from the building.  Hicks said the department does not have to use the ventilation fans often, but they are available to departments around the state for warehouse-type fires in larger buildings.  The fire was under control within five hours, and no one was injured. Sycamore, Cortland, Malta, Hinckley, Maple Park, Waterman and Genoa-Kingston fire departments assisted.

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