A contractor working to clear the highway rights of way in Barbour County of leftover debris from Hurricane Sandy will have to find another way to get rid of the material. The workers chipped a large amount of the debris and started burning it last week in an area called Ford Run near Phillippi.
“He had all his burn permits through the DNR and the fire had been burning since last Thursday,” said Jim Ancell, Deputy Director of the Barbour County Office of Emergency Management. “But as it became more intense there was more smoke and some of the neighbors suffering from emphysema and other respiratory problems had called the DEP Air Quality Division.”
DEP made the decision to put out the fires after inspecting the blaze. Six piles of wood chips, measured approximately 30′ x 30′ and standing 30′ high were burning. It was a challenge to put out.
“It was all green wood that fell during the storm and it was all chipped so it was dense material,” said Ancell. “It wasn’t an open burn so it did generate a lot of smoke. “
Barbour County’s three volunteer fire departments got involved and called in for assistance from several surrounding counties to help. The county also hired a piece of heavy machinery to help out.
“An excavator spread the wood chips out and as it was spread out, the firemen sprayed water on it to extinguish it,” Ancell said.
A decision on an alternative way to get rid of the material is still up in the air. The DEP and the contractor will make the decision. Under the contract with the DOH, the contractor is responsible for the disposal of the debris.