Landfill Fire Continues as Residents Wait for Relief

By: Chad Mira Email
By: Chad Mira Email

Panama City - Its been more than two weeks since the Kamax landfill off of Highway 231 started fire. After breathing in smoke for those two weeks, neighbors of the landfill are worried for their health. Despite getting court approval last Friday to put out the fire, the Department of Environmental Protection has yet to take action.

Bay County fire fighter's have been on the scene since last Thursday, but have not made progress because the fire is burning underground. Right now, they are waiting on the DEP to smother the fire with a layer of soil. Until then, the landfills neighbors continue to breath the smoke.

Margaret Shaddox says she's worried about her family's health. Shaddox requires six hours of oxygen treatment a day for a lung disease. The smoke has forced her family to stay inside.

"We always sit outside in the evening. Now you can't. Its like you're in jail," Shaddox said. She picks her grand kids up at the bus stop after school and usually takes them to the park to play, but her grand daughter has a heart murmur so now she keeps them indoors.

"They say, Granny, can we go to the park and swing? I'll say its too smoky out. You can't breath that stuff," Shaddox said.

Bay County Health Department officials continue daily tests of the air quality and say, so far, all readings have been normal. But they realize the smoke is a problem for those with respiratory issues.

"We're asking them to go to their doctor, we'll keep on monitoring them and each one of these conditions, and we'll be documenting these cases. They can call us or DEP," Doug Kent of the health department said.

DEP officials say they don't have a time frame yet for smothering the fire. They say contract issues with suppliers are causing delays.

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