KNOX COUNTY, Tenn. (WATE) — A fire started at Poplar View Landfill on Thursday night people could still see and smell the smoke all throughout Knoxville which led to some concerns.
Landfill Operators are working to put the fire out but they have to do so with dirt to smother the fire instead of water due to runoff and pollution concerns.
“Yeah, I knew it was there,” Philip St. Audin said when asked about the landfill just a couple yards from his home. “It never really concerned me as far as I’ve never really noticed it.”
When St. Audin moved into his new home a few months ago he wasn’t concerned about living close to a landfill, but that changed when he found himself waking up to big flames Friday morning.
“I left for work this morning about 2 o’clock in the morning, and when I backed out of the driveway all I could really see was the smoke rising and some of the light, but I really couldn’t see much more than that,” he said.
You can still see the smoke from Philp’s driveway Friday afternoon.
“When we arrived last night around 11:00 p.m. we saw a large amount of fire, large amount of debris that was on fire, and having a little bit of a history with the landfill that we did we knew we could not put a whole lot of water on it because we get into environmental issues,” Jeff Bagwell, Rural Metro Fire spokesperson, said.
The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation said only a small amount of water was used.
“What we hear today, they were bringing in copious amounts of dirt to try to cover it up and put it out that way,” Bagwell explained.
The landfill and TDEC are managing any water runoff because certain materials could have a negative impact on the environment.
“Our instructions were that the only time that we were to go back was that if the landfill management firm needed us,” Bagwell said.
As far as the smoke in the air, Rural Metro says there’s no need to worry about any harsh chemicals in the air.
Bagwell said, “Folks that live in that area that may have respiratory problems they need to stay in their house, not go outside even though it’s beautiful out here, and then the second thing would be on the air conditioner they can set it to where it’s on fan only so it pulls air from inside the house and not outside the house.”