Fire destroys building at Johnston trash plant

Fire crews respond to a call from Patriot Disposal in Johnston early Wednesday morning.

A fire early Wednesday morning destroyed a building at a trash transfer station in Johnston.

"I looked out my back window and I see flames at one of these buildings. I jumped in my car to get up here. By the time I got up here it was going pretty good," said Joseph Vinagro, a manager at Patriot Disposal.

Vinagro said he's thankful no one was hurt during the fire, but the building was a total loss.

"I would say $300,000, $250,000, $300,000," Vinagro said.

Probably more powerful than the images of the destruction was the smell during the early morning hours. The building that caught fire housed hundreds of tons of trash, that's also why it ignited so quickly and took nearly an hour to extinguish.

"Trash. It was a lot of trash, mattress material, all combustibles. So it didn't take long for the building to get going," said Fire Chief Tim McLaughlin.

Workers at the plant are used to moving debris. They had machinery on hand to help extinguish hot spots that continued to burn throughout the morning.

The fire marshal and the police are working to determine exactly how the building, which had no electricity and no one was inside, ignited in the middle of the night.

Despite the overnight fire and the massive loss, it will be business as usual for employees and customers who get trash picked up by Patriot Disposal.