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Gary fire crews put out blaze at Total Disposal garbage storage warehouse
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Gary fire crews put out blaze at Total Disposal garbage storage warehouse

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GARY — Fire crews worked to put out a large smoldering stockpile of trash discovered Saturday inside a garbage collection company's three-story warehouse. 

Firefighters with the Gary Fire Department were dispatched at 2:04 p.m. to Total Disposal, 100 Blaine St., in Gary, according to Battalion Chief Mark Terry. Total Disposal is located in an industrial area just southeast of Interstate 90 and Cline Avenue.

Crews called for mutual aid from the Griffith and Lake Ridge fire departments after seeing thick, gray smoke billowing from the building's six closed commercial doors in the front and vent fans in the back, Terry said. 

Once inside the building, crews used thermal camera imaging to detect a 40-foot-long pile of smoldering trash, Terry said. 

The fire was contained within 20 minutes and extinguished within an hour, he added. 

The warehouse, which serves as a transfer station, is used to store garbage that's collected from residences and businesses throughout the city before the contents are shipped to a landfill.

Company owners, Mark and Carol Hiskes, of Schererville, were on site surveying the damage. Carol Hiskes thanked the firefighters for their quick arrival and ability to contain the fire before destroying the building. 

"They got here so fast and they did a great job. It's all fixable and no one was hurt. That's all that matters," she said, noting the business closed at noon Saturday. No workers were present at the time of the fire. 

Terry said firefighters do not suspect arson. 

Hiskes and Terry both said someone likely threw something flammable or combustible in their trash — batteries, a cigarette or pool chemicals, perhaps — and that ignited a fire.

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North Lake County Reporter

Lauren covers North Lake County government, breaking news, crime and environmental issues for The Times. She holds a master’s degree in Public Affairs Reporting from UIS. Contact her at lauren.cross@nwi.com or 219-933-3206.

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