Fire crews were busy yesterday, and traffic was backed up for a time, when a street sweeper with a full tank of diesel fuel caught fire.

Street sweepers normally clean up the streets, but on Monday, it was the Dexter Fire Department and environmental agencies doing the dirty work. Dexter Fire officials say the call came in at 3:30 p.m. Monday that a street sweeper was on fire.

Complicating the situation was the fact that the operator had just filled the sweeper with 30 gallons of diesel fuel. Dexter crews arrived on scene and, when they noticed the fuel and fire spreading to a nearby house, called for mutual aid from the Dover-Foxcroft Fire Department. They got the fire under control quickly, but that was only the beginning.

Once the flames were extinguished, fire officials saw that the fuel and foam had pooled in a catch basin, right next to where the sweeper was sitting. The Department of Environmental Protection, as well as Clean Harbors, were called in to clean up the mess. T&W Towing lifted the remains of the sweeper onto a flat bed trailer and removed it from the scene.

Altogether, the cleanup took about five hours, with crews finishing up around 8:30 Monday night. Drivers were either stuck in traffic or had to turn around and take another route, because of the accident. But, the good news is that no one was hurt in the incident.

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