By Ted Waddell
MONTICELLO January 22, 2002 While squadrons of seagulls circled overhead, local firefighters battled a fire at the Sullivan County Landfill in a snowstorm.
According to Brian Soller, chief of the Monticello Fire Department, Saturday mornings fire was the third such incident to strike the county dump in the last six months.
Soller said the fire was reported to the Sullivan County 911 Center by landfill employees at 10:26 a.m. The Monticello FD was back on station around 4 p.m., but Soller said he expected to be called back to the scene later in the day to meet with NYS Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) officers and a DEC Haz-Mat specialist.
It was an underground garbage fire, said Soller.
He added the cause of the series of fires is unknown.
In addition to Monticello, several other area fire departments responded to the scene: Smallwood/Mongaup Valley, Hurleyville, Rock Hill and Kauneonga Lake. Rock Hill was also on standby status at Monticello. About 50 firefighters fought the stubborn underground fire.
Soller said county landfill employees used a large excavator to dig down about 20 feet into the huge pile of trash and load the smoldering garbage into trucks, where it was transported to an area away from the working face of the landfill. Local firefighters then soaked the piles of trash at the secondary area.
Basically all we were doing was pouring water into the hole, said Soller. Theres not much we can do except pour water on it.