DEP: Coal Refuse Fire Extinguished

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ARCHBALD -- An underground fire that's been burning in Lackawanna County for months is now finally out.

The DEP says construction crews were able to extinguish that fire in Archbald sometime last week.

At first glance at the massive crater in one part of Ed Staback Regional Park, a person might think that a meteor hit.

“It goes down probably about 40 feet or so and it`s huge, width wise,” said resident Brian Walker.

But actually the hole was created after crews had to dig to get an underground fire out.

That fire was discovered in October of 2014 when DEP says a coal refuse pile ignited.

Borough officials believe someone burning trash sparked the fire.

“We were up there a few times, it only smelled once in the neighborhood from it that we noticed, but the kids found it really interesting,” said Walker.

Initially fire crews from the borough attempted to get to it themselves, but the fire was too far down. DEP then hired a contractor who was able to dig the area out to finally get that fire extinguished.

Workers drilled 100-foot-deep bore holes and found no signs of underground fire.

Archbald Borough President Joseph Simon says DEP bid that project out for roughly $500,000.

“We`re really happy with the state, what they did for us. They did an outstanding job. They came right in, right after we started with the fire departments. They came right in and took right over,” said Simon.

“Those things can go on a long time so I`m glad they got it under control and took care of it,” said Sherrell Watkins.

“The smell got to us. You could smell that, but it`s really great to have it out,” said Charlie Watkins.

“We've been down to Centralia and a couple other places so we`re glad this one's out and it didn't spread,” said Walker.

Crews are expected to be at the park Wednesday morning to fill in the crater.

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