Video: Explosion rocks Sun Services recycling facility after gas tank caught in shredder

Sun Services’ C&D recycling facility in Beltsville, Maryland, was rocked by an explosion on the morning of Feb. 5 after a gas tank was accidentally fed into the recycler’s shredder. The gas tank was concealed among other construction and demolition materials, WTOP News reports.

Sun Services, which specializes in commercial disposal, residential demolition recycling, and construction dumpster rental, has been in operations since 2004. It built its new C&D recycling facility in October 2013.

As the company told Construction & Demolition Recycling magazine in a 2018 profile, Sun Services designed the 28,000-square-foot plant on five acres to house all material loading and processing under one roof to comply with local ordinances. Once material enters the plant, it is weighed prior to being dumped for a LEED inspection. The material is then loaded onto the sort system where it is sized and separated into 2-inch-minus, 2- to 6-inch and 6-inch-plus pieces. Larger pieces comprised of ferrous and nonferrous metal, concrete and aggregate, wood, plastics, cardboard and residuals are then filtered out. The valuable materials are recycled while the residuals head to a local waste-to-energy facility to be processed.

Prince George’s County Fire/EMS Department Battalion Chief Daniel Frost told reporters that a medium-sized pressurized gas tank was in with the recycling material fed into the sorting system, which was unknown to workers. Once introduced to the shredder, the tank exploded, setting off a blast that ripped through the building and shook neighboring facilities.

“It sounded like a bomb had gone off, and inside of our building everything was knocked off … phones were off the hook, pictures were off the walls. … All you could see was smoke everywhere,” Tina Funkhouser of N&S Towing, which is across the street from Sun Services, told WTOP News.

According to a report, Prince George’s County Fire/EMS teams were called to the scene after the explosion was reported.

Once at the scene, fire and EMS crews encountered smoke billowing from the facility and a fire. Siding was blown from the building. According to the Prince George’s County Fire/EMS Twitter account, “While on scene, there was another explosion which preliminarily appears to have come from a recycling unit.”

Fire crews extinguished the fire roughly one hour after the initial blast.

No injuries were reported.

A surveillance video of the facility posted by the Prince George’s County Fire/EMS Twitter account shows the initial explosion and workers running from the site.


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