• Officials worried landfill fire could be releasing toxic asbestos

    By: Ken Lemon

    Updated:

    CHESTER COUNTY, S.C. - A landfill fire has been smoldering for 24 hours and firefighters are worried it could be releasing toxic asbestos and construction debris into the air in Chester County near the Union County line.

    Emergency officials are watching as the landfill burns and could evacuate the area if the wind shifts.

    Crews have been at the Bennett Landfill near the Lockhart community since 5 p.m. Sunday.

    The community is in Chester County. Officials said construction debris has been burning all night.

    There has been no evacuation in Lockhart but officials said they are monitoring the situation closely.

    The EPA is setting up air-monitoring equipment for precautionary measures to monitor the air quality in the area and firefighters are planning a strategy for extinguishing the fire.
     
    As they monitor conditions and fight the flames, they are also asking if this was spontaneous combustion or arson.

    The landfill backs up to the Broad River at the border of Union County.
     
    “This is our life. This can hurt a lot of people,” said neighbor Holly Parkins.
         
    She worries about the fumes from the dump site. Construction hazardous materials some lined with asbestos were dumped at the site before the owner shut down the landfill in March.
     
    “The smoke is going in the air and it's no telling what it’s going to cause to happen to us,” Parkins said.
     
    Emergency workers said the smoke hasn't made it to nearby homes yet.
     
    “So far through the night the winds have been in our favor,” said Eddie Murphy, director of Emergency Management.

    Murphy believes the asbestos lined debris is in another part of the landfill, but said there are other hazardous materials here.
     
    “It's got shingle in it. Shingles are a hazard if they burn,” Murphy said.

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