BRIDGETON, MO (KTVI) – Smoke could be seen for miles as fire crews responded to a brush fire at the West Lake Landfill in Bridgeton Saturday. The Pattonville Fire Department responded a call for a small brush fire at St. Charles Rock Road and Taussig Road about 2:15pm. The fire was quickly put out.
The fire was started by a faulty switch on an Ameren utility pole, located inside the landfill’s perimeter. The switch overheated, causing hot metal to drop below and ignite a fire in the dry brush. Ameren crews responded and made repairs.
Area residents and elected officials gathered near the scene of the fire Saturday to see if it would move into a restricted area where an underground fire is burning. Residents were concerned that the fire would reach area where radioactive waste is buried.
Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster and the landfill owners are preparing for a court case next spring over the clean-up of the site, and monitoring of the underground fire that’s moving toward the radioactive waste. Koster wants the EPA to step-up and put out the underground fire; while others say the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers should be put in charge of the site and its clean-up.
Residents say the process is taking too long.
The landfills owner, Republic Services, disputes the reports saying, “The state’s experts found no threat to public health or safety that actually exists and says the Bridgeton landfill is in a managed state.”