Allied Waste driver Mike Reyes of Muskegon said he was driving west on Fulton Street shortly after 2 p.m. "when somebody noticed there was a fire on top of my truck."
Reyes said he pulled to the side of the road and climbed up to take a look, then saw the fire was too big for him to handle. He called 911 and pulled into the church parking lot at the corner of Fulton and DeSpelder to dump his load.
"I dumped the load right away and pulled my truck away from it," he said. "I had to look inside my truck to see if it was on fire."
Reyes said there was no fire inside the truck so he took a garden hose offered to him by a neighbor and tried to put water on the blaze.
Firefighters had to respond from a medical on the north shore, so it took them a few minutes longer than usual to arrive on the scene.
By then it looked like the burning bush, said Father Bill Langlois, who was watching the blaze from the steps of the church's administration offices across Fulton Street. "It was a huge bonfire," he said.
Firefighters from the Grand Haven Department of Public Safety blasted the blaze with water, then used a front-end loader to push apart the pile.
Nearby, neighbor Don Stillson, who had supplied the garden hose, was using it to water down his yard "just in case embers were to blow over from the fire.
Ashes from the blaze blew a couple blocks away, and that, combined with the smoke, cause a Columbus Street business to call 911 because he didn't know if his business was on fire. Officials determined the smoke and ashes were from the garbage fire.
The cause of the fire was unknown at this time.