Landfill fire remains activePublished 9:43am Tuesday, June 19, 2012
CHESAPEAKE — A landfill fire remains smoldering after firefighters battled it for seven hours Monday.
Chesapeake Fire Chief Ed Webb was called out to the Iron Valley Landfill off State Route 7 in Chesapeake at 3 p.m. Monday.
“When I arrived on scene the owner told me he had a very small fire and needed just one truck of water to make sure it was put out,” Webb said. “When (firefighters) arrived on scene, the fire was not much bigger than a five foot to five foot area with a minimal amount of smoke.”
The landfill is a legal dump site for construction material. When the crew moved the material to put water on it, oxygen that got to the material caused the fire to escalate.
“It was actually burning more, smoking more and getting hotter,” Webb said.
Throughout the afternoon and night 17 trucks continually brought water to the site.
“We always had a water stream going,” Webb said. “We never saw the fire, just the heat coming up from the combustion in the construction material. It was like walking on a steam bath.”
At one point an EPA official took a temperature reading at the site that registered at 450 degrees. When the temperature came down to 130 degrees, the official released the crews to get some rest.
Webb estimates 300,000 gallons of water was used on the fire.
“We had two trucks and four lines throwing water on it for seven solid hours,” Webb said.
Crews will be back out at the site, this time fighting it with truckloads of dirt to cut the oxygen supply.
“You take the oxygen out, it will go out,” Webb said. “I don’t know how many tons and tons of dirt it will take to put it out.”