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Air Battle Takes Shape in Attica

12:03 AM, Sep 30, 2012   |    comments
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ATTICA, NEW YORK - With the cleanup in Attica comes an awful odor that smells worse than the stench before the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency arrived.

The agency says that it's taking every possible step to keep dangerous chemicals from seeping into nearby neighborhoods and monitoring the air quality around Hillcrest Industries.

Crews with the dirty and dangerous task of extinguishing the fire at Hillcrest have been on the job for about 13 hours, and counting. First, the EPA says it's trying to keep more chemicals from burning plastic and glass from seeping into Attica.

"Basically [we'll] form a water curtain, and drop down any particulates and fumes that may be coming off the pile and we have the ability to move [water machines] around and you can shoot them in any direction to control whatever is coming off," said Jeff Bechtel, a coordinator with the EPA.

Bechtel's referring to machines that the EPA says have been effective. They're at elevated positions around Hillcrest, forming the curtain, and are driving water to try to knock down the vapors.

"There's some fumes coming off the top of it. Like any type of fire, there's some soot," said Mike Basile, an EPA spokesperson.

The EPA has set up five monitoring stations to catch any particles that may be flowing from Hillcrest. The stations are at Attica Memorial Park, Attica High School and several more are on village streets.

"At anytime, any one of those monitoring stations, an alarm goes off that information will be sent to our folks on scene," said Basile.

Officials say crews will stop their work, if toxins reach high levels that are either hazardous for the workers or residents.

Meantime, at local businesses like Meisner's Deli, employees are doing what many in Attica have already done, which is keep their windows closed and stay away from Hillcrest. But there are some exceptions when that awful smell can get inside.

"Especially when the wind's blowing and the door opens and a person walks into the door and when they walk back out," said Chelsey James, an employee at the restaurant. She thinks the Attica stench smells like garbage. She, like many in the community, continue to suffer from the odor because they have no choice but to deal with it.



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