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Battle to extinguish Pa. coal fire burning since December 2013 continues

February 27, 2014 - Ben Klein

SIMPSON, Pa. (AP) — Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection officials say they've been unable to put out a coal fire burning for months.

WNEP-TV said Thursday the coal refuse fire has been burning in Simpson in Lackawanna County since December.

DEP officials said it may take another month to put out the fire. They anticipate the total cost to be about $2 million.

Crews have dug down 40 feet and are still finding burning material. They're pouring about 1.6 million gallons of water on the fire daily and trying to prevent the fire from spreading to two coal seams near the burning mound.

The smoke and smell from the fire has been reaching Simpson, Carbondale and other parts of northern Lackawanna County. DEP officials say tests show the air is safe.


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