BRIDGETON, Mo. (KMOX) – The Pattonville Fire Protection District is applauding a decision to build a firebreak trench at the Bridgeton Landfill, where an underground fire has been burning not far from buried radioactive waste.

Pattonville Assistant Fire Chief Matt LaVanchy says there should be enough time to dig the trench before the fire gets near waste in the West Lake Landfill.

“The latest data shows that the smoldering event is still contained in that south area and into the neck area so there’s still quite a bit of distance between the two,” he said.

LaVanchy says a start date for digging the ditch has not been announced but plans call for completing the project in six months.

“We don’t know how much time we really do have but now that there’s movement in the correct direction then at least we’re going that far,” he added.

LaVanchy has been outspoken about the two landfills and the concerns posed by the fire near them. He told KMOX News last month that the trench should be dug and that radioactive waste at West Lake should be removed.

“Our main concern was to make sure that radiological material never came in contact with the fire and I think that’s the direction that we’re headed in now with the barrier wall being put in,” he said Monday.

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