CARBONDALE -- Federal money will be used to help put out a mine fire in the Carbondale area on private property owned by Dunmore businessman Louis DeNaples.
The Powderly mine fire in Carbondale has been burning underground for at least 21 years, just in sight of one of the city's neighborhoods.
"I could smell this growing up. I've heard the noise over here. I've heard the trikes going up through here. It's our cemetery over here. I've seen it all. This is a pleasure, and it's going to be welcome by everyone in this radius of 100 yards, believe me," said neighbor Joe Connor.
Connor had long given up hope that the fire would ever be put out, but crews paid with federal money are now finishing efforts started when the fire was discovered in 1995.
Once the fire is out, crews will then start to fill in the pit and eliminate the cliffs -- some of them, 150 feet high.
Powderly is one of 14 mine fires scheduled to be put out and cleaned up across the state.
"You'd be surprised the number of communities that we have across the state where, literally, roads are diverted around these piles. They really have become part of the landscape," said acting DEP Secretary Patrick O'Donnell.
DEP officials say the 14 mine fires are on a mix of private land and public. This one is on land owned by Dunmore businessman Louis DeNaples since about 1991.
DeNaples is eligible for the federal help because the source of the fire can't be traced.
Once the land is level again, Carbondale officials hope it will be opened up for development.
"Once we get everybody on the same page, we'll be able to move forward and bring any development that would be taxable here in the city," said Carbondale Mayor Justin Taylor.
If efforts to put out Powderly and the 13 other mine fires prove successful, the federal government may continue putting out mine fires across the country.