EPA Evaluating Health Concerns Surrounding Bella Vista Dump Stump Fire

BELLA VISTA (KFSM) -- The EPA is evaluating a smoldering underground fire at a former dump stump in Bella Vista after state health officials say the air quality surrounding the area is unhealthy for residents.

Residents living nearby say they have been living with the smell and breathing issues long enough.

"I can't open the windows. So I can't go outside, I can't open the windows, so you feel like a prisoner in your own home," Dirk Webber told 5NEWS.

The Arkansas Department of Health said pregnant women, infants, and young children are more sensitive to the smoke.

The fire has been smoldering underground since July, and the Bella Vista Fire Department says there's no safe way to put it out.

Coordinators with the EPA have been in Bella Vista doing sir sampling and monitoring, but say they are now in the process of putting some options together to present to the state on how to extinguish the fire.

"We're in the process of putting together some options to present to the state as far as going forward," Matt Loesel with the EPA told 5NEWS. "We've put some of our monitoring data on the city's website, and we're in the process of gathering our sampling information."

Residents living near the stump dump say there will be another meeting about the fire on Monday (Dec. 17) at Bella Vista's city hall.

Click here to see more information about the stump dump fire on Bella Vista's city website.

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