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Fire departments called as garbage smolders at county's sanitary landfill

Willmar firefighters Darwin Melin, left, and Howard Carlson spray water Oct. 23 on smoldering garbage at the Kandiyohi County landfill. Tribune photo by Ron Adams

NEW LONDON -- Five fire departments were hauling water, and garbage was being dug up, in an effort to extinguish a fire smoldering in trash buried five years ago at the Kandiyohi County Sanitary Landfill in rural New London.

Landfill clerk Mary Peterson said employees reporting for work Thursday morning saw smoke but no flames rising from the ground. The site was excavated and the New London Fire Department was called to put out the smoldering garbage.

However, smoke was noticed again Friday morning. Peterson called New London Fire Chief Sig Holme who came out to the scene and said more help was needed.

"What's weird is that it's in such old garbage,'' said Peterson, adding the cause was not known.

Two backhoes from Monson Excavating had dug down at least 35 feet and had excavated about 400 cubic yards of garbage. A county dozer and loader were also being used.

Tanker trucks from the fire departments from Willmar, New London, Spicer, Belgrade and Sunburg were hauling water from New London. Peterson said firefighters had six hoses trained on the smoldering trash.

"The more they dig the smoke just keeps coming,'' she said while watching the work behind her office. "This is our second one in 20 years.''

David Little
David Little covers the Willmar City Council, Willmar Municipal Utilities and other city news.
(320) 235-1150