Fire at Hillcrest in Attica Is Out
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"Sunday morning, we dug through the last of the hot spots in the pile where there was still some active fire and high temperatures,” said Jeff Bechtel, EPA on-site coordinator.
A month after the EPA stepped in to eliminate odor and chemicals in Attica's air, the biggest part of the job is done: putting out the fire at Hillcrest.
"We're going to finish getting the pile down in size, however long that takes, and then we have to sit down and come up with the game plan between Hillcrest and the DEC and ourselves as to who's going to monitor this,” Bechtel said.
A big gray mass is all that remains of what used to be a 40-foot high, acre-wide pile of burning recyclables and glass. The EPA is now breaking that down into 10-foot high piles. They say those won't burn quite so readily.
Residents here call this operation only the first step, and they say once the EPA leaves, the DEC and Hillcrest need to shape up.
"I believe the DEC isn't qualified to handle this. They're probably under-funded in our area,” said Dan Eichelberger, a neighbor.
"Unfortunately, personally, I believe the trust has been broken,” said Julie Long, Attica resident. “The DEC let us down for a long time."
Many in Attica maintain to YNN that positive action only happened when the EPA stepped in and extinguished the fire. Now, with the EPA getting ready to hand the reins back to the DEC, they're worried, especially in light of just-released DEC air test results taken nearly two months ago. The images are glass particles found in the air in Attica; some of them, three-to-four times the width of a human hair.
"We have to stay on it, as residents. It's not over. We're not going to be done with this until it's cleaned up down there,” Long said.
"It's a good first step, but we need some type of resolution on what's going to happen with this garbage, what's going to happen with this glass, and what Hillcrest is going to be allowed to do from here on out,” Eichelberger said.
After a week-long forced shutdown, Hillcrest has begun using one of its glass furnaces again after completing DEC-mandated upgrades to the air filtering system.