This was not, it is safe to assume, a case of spontaneous combustion. I came across what was left of a trash can on the Dave Clark Riverfront Path on Wednesday afternoon.
The fire had occurred around midnight. The Albany Fire Department put it out and reports there were no witnesses, and whatever was in the bin was consumed by the flames.
“Unfortunately,” Fire Chief Shane Wooton told me, “this happens all too often when it comes to trash cans, Dumpsters, port-a-potties etc.”
The chief said both the fire and police departments monitor the frequency of these types of fires and look for trends. This might show whether they’re dealing with isolated cases or with an individual or group going around committing arson.
There’s a cost to the public besides the destruction of a convenience. The last time the parks department bought a trash can of this type, operations and maintenance manager Rick Barnett says, the price was $1,350 plus shipping.
If you look closely at the photo, you may conclude that to some dog walkers carrying around those loaded plastic baggies, any trash can will do, even if it’s burned. (hh)