Landfill fire: Tough for TFD and lung patients

TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - That stubborn landfill fire on Tucson's southeast side has been a headache for Tucson Firefighters---and more than a headache for people with lung problems.

The fire, which had been burning since at least 3 a.m. Sunday, was put out Tuesday.

It's not burning garbage. The landfill takes in wood and landscaping waste....

It's been a tough fire to fight, that's been tough on anyone with breathing problems.

Tucson Fire says the landfill owner is covering the cost of heavy equipment to dig into the layers of burning wood and brush.  That should help water reach the fire. 
        
Tucson Fire Captain Andy Skaggs compares the challenge to making sure a campfire is safely out, but on the scale of a couple of football fields---with layers of fire that reach ten feet deep.

"It's dense and it's deep and you can imagine, it creates tunnels underground that fire follows, the path of those tunnels where we cannot see it and it's just in there burning and smoldering and we can't get to it until we get that heavy equipment in there to turn it up and really be able to get after it."
        
TFD had hoped to have out Tuesday but it's hard to know for certain when the fire will be out and the smoke will disperse.  That's bad news for people like Glen and Anna Weir.  
        
She's getting headaches.
        
He has a chronic lung disease.

Glen Weir says: "Just dust bothers me and I use the oxygen every night anyways and today I'm having to use it just about all day.  It seems to be helping but I can still smell the smoke.  You can't get away from that."
         
We met the Weirs at an east-side store where they went to escape the smoke for awhile.  Firefighters say if smoke bothers you, shopping, a movie, or even a hotel could be good ideas until the fire's out and the smoke clears away.

Anna Weir says, “When I woke up this morning, I tried to get into the shower and the bathroom was engulfed almost in smoke even though the doors had been closed all night long.  I've got migraine headaches.  He's got COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease)   Neither one of us breathe.  We've tried to use the humidifier in the house to get some of the smoke.  You can't go outside, can't walk the dog.  The haze was just laying over the yard this morning.  You couldn't even see across the backyard."
           
They tried filter masks outdoors but they didn’t really help.

Tucson Fire says it's managed to keep the fire from spreading. But even after they can say that it's out smoldering debris could still smoke up the area.

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