ALBERTA

Medicine Hat Landfill Fire: Officials Hire Hellfire Suppression Services

11/22/2013 08:40 EST | Updated 01/25/2014 04:01 EST
MEDICINE HAT, Alta. - Officials say they are finally ready to start trying to extinguish a landfill fire that has spewed toxic smoke into Medicine Hat, Alta.

Mayor Ted Clugson said on Friday afternoon that officials with Cypress County, in consultation with the city, have hired Hellfire Suppression Services, a company specializing in landfill fires.

The fire at the Westar dump has been burning since Monday.

Earlier in the week, officials said it was simply not possible to try and get inside the area to put the flames out.

Medicine Hat and the surrounding area has been under an air quality advisory since Thursday.

Alberta Health Services said while there is a noticeable smell of smoke in Medicine Hat, air quality monitoring being done by a mobile unit has shown no significant health risk.

Two more electronic air quality monitoring devices will be strategically added in Medicine Hat on Saturday.

People with sensitivities and pre-existing respiratory conditions such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, heart problems and asthma have been told they could notice a worsening of symptoms.

On Wednesday, officials in Cypress County declared a state of emergency and ordered nine homes evacuated due to the fire.

They said at the time that air quality in the area had deteriorated to the point that it was considered "a serious life safety hazard."

The cause of the fire remains unknown.

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