You know you're having a bad day when your town is transformed into a steaming pile of trash.

Residents in Dutchess County may have noticed a peculiar smell in the air on Wednesday. No, you didn't imagine it. That was actually the distinct aroma of burning garbage.

An enormous pile of household waste was dumped right in the road as it burst into flames. According to firefighters, the debris was put there by a garbage truck driver hoping to save his truck.

What happened?

The Union Vale Fire Department says that they responded to the area of North Smith Road after being alerted to an enormous pile of waste that was on fire. According to officials, a garbage truck driver realized that the trash he was hauling was on fire. In order to prevent the truck itself from bursting into flames he immediately dumped the pile of flaming refuse on the roadway and moved the truck to safety.

Facebook/Union Vale Fire Department
Facebook/Union Vale Fire Department

The entire roadway was shut down around noon in the vicinity of Sky Acres airport so the Union Vale Fire Department could assess the situation. Once on the scene, firefighters used hoses in an attempt to contain the flames. Photos posted to the fire department's Facebook page showed just how large the pile of garbage was, and how quickly it was all engulfed in flames.

A tough cleanup

After extinguishing the fire, the steaming pile of garbage was removed and the roadway was reopened after 3pm. Firefighters were assisted by the Union Vale highway department in cleaning up the mess.

Facebook/Union Vale Fire Department
Facebook/Union Vale Fire Department

How did it happen?

It's unclear what caused the trash to combust, but there have been many cases of garbage trucks bursting into flames due to the improper disposal of batteries and other hazardous items. Local recycling and garbage collection services warn residents to leave potentially flammable items out of their weekly trash pickup and save them for special hazardous waste collection events. You can also bring batteries to certain stores and collection points designated for the safe disposal of these items.

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