BANKS TOWNSHIP -- Residents in Carbon County who are concerned over a mine fire burning near their homes got a chance to meet with state environmental officials Wednesday evening.
Smoke billows from a fire burning inside the Jeansville Mine near Tresckow, filling the air with a foul smell that has raised concerns and complaints from the folks who live around it.
“It is very bad. It smells like a rotten egg smell. Even when I take my dog out, he`ll come in sometimes with the odor on him,” said Diane Nice.
“Smells like sulfur every morning, noon, night. It's ridiculous,” said Robert Gross.
That's why the state Department of Environmental Protection, along with elected officials, met with those affected residents at the Tresckow Fire House.
DEP says it plans to hire a contractor to determine just how far spread the fire is.
“So we should be able within a few weeks, about a month, to determine how severe the fire is, what we`re looking at, how much money needs to be set aside to fight it, and what plan of action DEP and the Bureau of Abandoned Mines Reclamation needs to develop,” said Colleen Connolly with DEP.
DEP was able to provide some new information to residents, showing maps where they believe the fire is located.
DEP also believes the fire started as far back as 2012.
“Well I hope they find a remedy to the problem that they have here with this mine fire, and of course we have our senator who is here. Some of the people from the higher offices, maybe they can do something to help the people out between the smell and the fire,” said Walter Bobowski.
DEP says another complication in fighting this mine fire is that there are federally protected bats living in a deep mine shaft. Whatever is done to put out the fire cannot endanger those bats.
“Right now we're in there gathering data, research, thermal imagining. They're going to do boreholes, that`s going to take a little time,” said state Senator John Yudichak (D) 14th District.
But residents say this fire has gone on long enough.
“We're human beings. We pay taxes. Give us a break,” said Joe Ziller.
DEP says a previous air quality test showed no hazards in that air, but DEP plans to do continuous testing while the fire is burning.