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Fire Official Warns of New Hot Spot Near Bridgeton Radiation

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Bridgeton Sanitary Landfill, where underground fire has been smoldering since December 2010 (Photo: KMOX)

Bridgeton Sanitary Landfill, where underground fire has been smoldering since December 2010 (Photo: KMOX)

CBS St. Louis (con't)

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BRIDGETON, Mo. (KMOX) - The fire department closest to the burning Bridgeton Landfill is keeping a close eye on a new hot spot near nuclear waste at the neighboring West Lake Landfill.

Assistant Fire Chief Matt LaVanchy with the Pattonville Fire Protection District says he’s alarmed about the 143 degree temperature measured at a gas extraction well just 750 feet from where radioactive waste is buried.

“Are we alarmed that there is an uprising in temperature out in the middle of the north quarry? Yes, that’s definitely an alarm for us,” he said. “This thing is not sitting still, waiting for the powers to be to make their decisions. It’s continue to do what it’s going to do.”

LaVanchy wants to see a firebreak trench dug soon to separate the known fire and the new hot spot from the West Lake Landfill.

“We’ve been monitoring this thing since the day we were made aware it was going on and it’s nowhere closer today to being contained than what it was back in the day when we first learned about it,” he added.

Bridgeton Landfill owners tell KMOX News the new hot spot is cooling in recent weeks, down from a high temperature of 155 degrees, and they say there is no way any underground fire will be allowed to make contact with the nuclear material.

But LaVanchy says his department is running out of time.

“Time is of the essence on this stuff and we said that before in the past. The longer it takes for something to be done, the less time we have to come up with a fail-safe safeguard for this community.”

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