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Efforts Underway to Suppress Anguilla Landfill Fire

Jan. 12, 2009 — Work to put out the fire at the Anguilla landfill on St. Croix began Monday, according to May Adams Cornwall, director of the V.I. Waste Management Authority.
"They're setting up this week," Authority spokesman Stella Saunders said Monday. (See "WMA Unveils Plan to Put Out Landfill Fire.")
She expects the contractor to start the actual work by Friday. The work should be completed 45 days from Monday, Saunders said.
"They'll excavate a small area and extinguish as they go," she said.
Williams Fire and Hazard Control of Texas has a $3.9 million contract to put out the fire. Crews will work from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. seven days a week, Saunders said.
The fire at the 30-year-old landfill has burned underground for years. It has broken through occasionally, resulting in "smoke stacks" in the air and the grass catching fire, Saunders said. Major fires have occurred in the landfill's scrap-metal area, not where the waste is buried, Saunders said.
The landfill is scheduled to close Dec. 31. The fires must be put out before then so the landfill can be capped.
While Saunders doesn't expect much disruption in the day-to-day operation of the landfill, she asked people and waste haulers to drive slowly and follow the directions at the security checkpoints and those of the flagmen and spotters when entering the landfill.
All haulers are advised that there may be slight delays in operations while in the landfill, so their understanding and cooperation is requested.
Williams Fire is an industrial firefighting company with extensive expertise in assessing and extinguishing underground fires. The contractor has brought to St. Croix specialized firefighting equipment needed to fight subterranean fires, two pieces of specialized pumper equipment, Saunders said. Additionally, Williams Fire contracted with the landfill operator, A-9, for use of such heavy equipment as bulldozers.
"And they brought 13 men," she said.
The Waste Management Authority has coordinated efforts with several agencies to ensure the public's safety and health. They include the police department; the departments of Health, Planning and Natural Resources; Fire Services; the V.I. Port Authority; and the V.I. Territorial Emergency Management Agency.
Current information on the fire project is posted on an automated telephone hotline, 712-4995, or can be obtained by clicking "what's new" on the Authority's website.
Questions will be answered from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday at the Authority's hotline. The number is 713-1962.
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