Officials: Bridgeton Landfill didn't report surface fire

BRIDGETON, Mo (KSDK) -- Crews have been on the scene at the Bridgeton Landfill since around 9:15 a.m. Sunday after smoke was seen billowing from the landfill's South Quarry. The Missouri Department of Natural Resources says the fire was caused by a broken methane gas pipe.

The surface fire is now under control, but Pattonville Fire officials say the smoke could be seen along Boenker Lane off St. Charles Rock Road in Bridgeton.

Witnesses say smoke was blowing toward the Spanish Village neighborhood.

A spokesperson for the Pattonville Fire Protection District says no evacuations are needed at this time.

Officials from the Missouri Department of Natural Resources are there tested the air and the Pattonville Fire Assistant Chief says the air is safe in the area surrounding the landfill.

Crews on the scene are keeping a close eye on the situation.

In cases like this, landfill crews are supposed to follow a response plan which includes calling fire and police departments, St. Louis County Officials and the Missouri Department of Natural Resources.

None of those calls were made, according to Pattonville Fire Protection District Assistant Chief Matt LaVancy.

"We were actually having to go out and try to find them to see what the story was," LaVanchy said.

When NewsChannel 5 asked why none of those calls were made, the Bridgeton Landfill LLC sent us the following statement:

"As part of our investigation into the origin of the surface fire, we will conduct an after-action review of the entire incident to include notification and coordination with first responders. The EPA was on site at the time of the incident, and Pattonville Fire Department was early onto the scene, consistent with the response plan. We appreciate everyone's coordination and prompt response this morning."

Original statement from the Bridgeton Landfill:

"This morning, the Bridgeton Landfill LLC project team extinguished a small, surface fire located at the southern border of the Landfill, near the drainage ditch area. The surface fire is believed to be the result of a break in an air-line which allowed oxygen into a small area under the liner. It was quickly extinguished by the Landfill's 24/7 on-site team.

There continues to be steam visible off-site emanating from the area where the surface fire burned part of the liner. The Landfill team is currently covering the burned liner with dirt, but steam may continue to be present and visible for the foreseeable future as a result of hot gas reaching cold air.

Emergency site and contractor teams are now responding to assist with repairs. During the repair process, some off-site odor may be detected while the damaged area of the liner is replaced. In addition, there was damage to the plastic conveyance lines, which allowed some leachate to be released. The leachate was captured and contained within lined ditches, and is being collected for treatment and safe disposal. The Landfill team will keep the community updated on repair work and anticipated completion, as well as continue to investigate the origin of the surface fire.

The Landfill team extends its appreciation to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Missouri Department of Natural Resources, Pattonville Fire Department, and Bridgeton Police Department for their prompt response and coordination this morning."


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