KGUN 9 On Your SideNewsLocal News


Landfill fire finally out, arson suspected

Smoke caused breathing concerns in the area
Posted at 4:24 PM, Jan 02, 2018
and last updated 2018-01-02 19:17:24-05

It was a smoky, smelly, nuisance for the healthy and a real health problem for anyone with breathing disorders but now the landfill fire that plagued Tucson is out.

On Monday smoke was a blanket over the valley, but now the air looks clear, even over the landfill itself.

A fight that began at 3 a.m. on Sunday is finally over.

Tucson Fire worked alongside heavy equipment the landowner called in that tore open the burning wood and landscaping waste so water could reach the fire buried deep.

The owner's operations manager thinks the fire was arson.

Todd Payne with The Fairfax Company says, "we've had a lot of vandalism out here over the years.  We had some vandalism at another facility about a year and a half ago so I would suspect someone came in and intentionally lit it.  It's a guess on my part, but I have strong suspicions."

Tucson Firefighters understood they were fighting a fire that caused trouble across the city.

"It's a great relief for us to be able to bring relief to the community from this smoke," said Tucson Fire Captain Andy Skaggs.

At its peak, the smoke kept people with breathing problems like Glen Weir tied to an oxygen tube and kept others sealed up indoors.

Pima County's Department of Environmental Quality saw smoke in the air spike during the peak of the fire New Year's Day.

Sensors measured the sort of tiny particles that stick deep in your lungs.

"They get deep down past the mucus and down into the lung where the cilia is trying to move it around and get it back up, but it's so small that it can get past that and deep into the lungs and then it's hard for the lungs to get that out," said Beth Gorman with PDEQ.

Now contractors will keep dousing the fire to kill any hot spots that could bring back the fire and the smoke.