9-month-old underground fire irks neighbors

An underground fire has smoldered for nine months in West Michigan, filling the air with smoke at times and prompting warnings to motorists, officials said.
AP Wire
Sep 29, 2013

The fire is in peat moss in Allegan County's Watson Township, about 25 miles southwest of Grand Rapids. People living near the swampy farm field say the smoke is making them sick and sometimes forces them to leave home.

"Our entire house smells like a fire pit, it has that stink," said Cheryl Johnson, who lives in a home across the street. "You can probably hear a little bit in my respiratory that I have a cough, but it's the headaches that are the worst."

Farmer Frank Doezema, who along with a brother owns the property where fire is smoldering, said he believes it started last December when workers burned brush. He said he plans to work with an expert next week who will use a solution that may snuff out the fire.

This week, excavators were used to try to extinguish parts of it.

"It's frustrating for us, too, because we don't want unhappy neighbors," Doezema said.

The fire prompted Allegan County officials to place signs warning motorists of "low visibility."

Hopkins Fire Chief Tim McKinnon said his volunteers tried four times to put out the fire over the last month, dumping 35,000 gallons of water. Similar fires have burned for years, he said, and he wants it extinguished.

"We're trying to get down into the ground and saturate the ground and put the fire out, and it's burning underground," he said. "It's below what we can reach with our hoses."

Comments

jjabrahms

sounds like a easy fix...

Truth Be Told

There you have it, sustainable energy.
build a plant on the site and use the peat fire for energy.
Al Gore better get his cut tho...

LessThanAmused

"The fire prompted Allegan County officials to place signs warning motorists of "low visibility.""

That's great, and oh so typical. The "officials", the one's supposedly in charge, best idea is to put up a sign and hope it goes away.....

It's getting air and as long as it does it'll keep going. There has to be a way to snuff it out. Government officals have a history of killing things off...why can't they use their inherent skills to solve this problem?

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