Landfill fire likely out

Published 1:08 pm Tuesday, January 12, 2010

A fire at a landfill north of Austin that had been burning since last week was likely extinguished Monday afternoon.

The fire was at the VONCO IV Demolition Debris Landfill, 24477 Highway 218, in a pit used for construction and demolition waste — not any type of hazardous material, a company representative said.

Brian Lovik, acting Austin fire chief, said the department had at least two firefighters at the site 24 hours a day since Friday. With landfill workers excavating burning debris, the firefighters were able to hose it down, Lovik said.

Company vice president Steve Halgren said the site is closed as of Tuesday morning but said the company is working with the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency to determine when the landfill can reopen.

The MPCA has been monitoring the site to ensure that air quality remains safe, spokeswoman Cathy Rofshus said last week.

“Our No. 1 concern is public safety,” Rofshus added.

As of Friday afternoon, the site was not deemed to be particularly dangerous to people passing by, she said. The pit is in a relatively sparse area and far from any roads.

Halgren said a cause of fire is unknown at this time, adding that the fire department and the MPCA would be working on a report.

The fire was first spotted Wednesday afternoon.