UPDATE: Cause investigated in fire that destroyed four garbage trucks, causing $1 million damage

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Gazette staff
Wednesday, May 21, 2014

TOWN OF BELOIT—The cause of a fire that destroyed four Rock Disposal garbage trucks and caused $1 million damage is undetermined, Capt. Rich Tippelt of the Town of Beloit Fire Department said.

"We won't investigate any further because we don't suspect any arson, we don't suspect any foul play," Tippelt said.

Firefighters found two garbage trucks engulfed in flames and two partially on fire when they arrived at 11:52 p.m. Tuesday at Rock Disposal, 2301 W. Beloit-Rock Townline Road, according to a news release from the town fire department.

Robert Klimoski, Rock Disposal owner, said firefighters told his workers the fire was started by lightning.

Tippelt said firefighters don't know if lightning is the cause.

"The only way we could determine if it was a lightning strike, we would have to do a whole other multitude of work," Tippelt said.

The fire appeared to have started in the cab of one of the trucks, Tippelt said.

The fire destroyed four garbage trucks and damaged a fifth, Klimoski said.

"Four are done. One will need minor repairs," owner Robert Klimoski said.

The company has a fleet of about 25 trucks.

"We'll handle it. It just kind of hinders what we can do. We'll have to double up shifts," Klimoski said.

Firefighters worked to keep the fire from spreading between the closely-parked vehicles. Heat from the flames partially melted the cover of a street light overhead.

Klimoski said firefighters told him they suspect lightning started the fire.

Rock Disposal owner: Lightning strike sparked truck fire (0:56)

He didn't expect service to Rock Disposal customers would be affected.

"Whatever happens, the customer is always first," he said.

The company has some spare trucks, a rental truck was on the way Wednesday morning, and Klimoski hoped to have more trucks on site soon.

The fire was discovered by the company's night maintenance workers, he said.

"There was insurance. Whether that will cover our losses, I don't know, but I do think the trucks were a total loss," Klimoski said.

Firefighters were on the scene for 90 minutes.

Nobody was hurt.

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