As of Monday afternoon, the truck rubble was still smoking where it sat next to the office. 

Chelsea-area trash service, John’s Refuse Service LLC, lost all but one of their trash trucks in a fire over Thanksgiving weekend.

Crystal Miller, co-owner of the family business that has provided trash service for the city of Chelsea and rural Rogers County for over 40 years, said the loss is devastating.

The family was in New York, visiting relatives for the holiday, when they got a call late Saturday night from the Chelsea Fire Department.

‘They had to cut themselves in with bolt cutters, and the wind was so bad, that was what engulfed all the trucks,” Miller said. “I was on the phone with the dispatcher and they were like ‘It’s one truck. It’s two. No it’s three. It’s five. It’s all of them.’”

“The one that we didn’t lose is actually a back-up truck that we don’t run full-time,” Miller said. “It’s just there if we have to do a brake change or tires, but it’s obviously out on the road right now.”

John’s Refuse Service hauls trash for the city of Chelsea, all of the northeast Rogers County schools and much of rural Rogers County.

Normally they run six trucks five days a week to keep up with demand.

“This is a big hit to our family and business,” Miller said, adding that she was so overwhelmed with emotion when she saw the rubble of her family’s business that she couldn’t help but cry. “My whole life was growing up with my parents owning this business. I used to be taken to school in a trash truck.”

Employees showed up ready to work on their day off Sunday to get the spare truck up and running and to start looking for trash trucks they could borrow.

“Business is still running as normal,” Miller said. “We’ve got three trucks out on route right now, and they are running from daylight until dark.”

Other trash services have generously provided John’s Trash Service with trucks to use to remain operational until they can recoup their losses.

“Our goal is that this week will be the only week effected, and everyone will get service this week, just maybe not at their normal time,” Miller said.

An investigation is ongoing to determine the cause of the fire.

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