Stubborn Pennsylvania Coal Fire Finally Extinguished

Aug. 20--ARCHBALD -- Firefighters successfully stopped a coal-waste fire from smoldering out of control, the state Department of Environmental Protection said Tuesday.

Midvalley fire crews responded to a brush fire Sunday on Stafursky Paving Co. Inc. property. The company provided an excavator to expose burning coal to firefighters' hoses.

Work ended by 11 p.m. Sunday. On Tuesday, the DEP declared the blaze extinguished. Further investigation revealed it had not spread to any deep coal seams, spokeswoman Colleen Connolly said, and the culm bank's temperature was down to 80 degrees.

DEP is still assessing the cost of extinguishing the fire and the source of funding.

Archbald Fire Chief Bob Harvey determined the cause was arson.

Burning trash sparks most coal fires in the state, according to the DEP. Left unchecked, coal fires can smolder for years and cost millions to extinguish.

-- BRENDAN GIBBONS

Copyright 2014 - The Times-Tribune, Scranton, Pa.

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