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Mine fire update in Jeansville

JEANESVILLE, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU)-- People living near an underground mine fire have some relief tonight.

The fire at the Luzerne-Carbon County line is nearly out.

Lead  I-Team reporter Andy Mehalshick headed out to the Luzerne Carbon-County Line,

Many of those living in our part of the country are familiar with the problems associated with underground coal mine fires. Those who live near the underground mine fire in Jeansville have been experiencing it first hand, but now they finally have confirmation the end is in sight.

"It was scary. I was thinking another Centralia. I really was I was really scared," Kerry Gross of Jeansville said.

Kerry Gross is talking about the Columbia County community that is now a ghost town thanks to an underground mine fire. Gross lives just two blocks from the Jeansville mine fire.

"It's just good to know it's finally going to be out and you don't  have to have that smell at night when you have your windows open. Just a great feeling to know that," Gross said..

On this day you cannot see a trace of the mine fire. Quite a contrast to what folks here have been seeing and living with since it was discovered n 2015. A fire that might have been burning for several years before it was finally noticed. 

"It's very good news we are a long way from where we were a year ago," Colleen Connolly DEP said.

The state department of environmental protection, the DEP says the fire which was burning about 25 acres of abandoned coal shafts, is getting smaller by the day.

"A good percentage of fire is out and we are on track to have a fire extinguished by late fall." Connolly said.

Joe Clark and Charles Schalles are supervisors in Banks Township, they helped organize efforts to put the fire out.

"A lot of our concern was about property values the smell and everything under the sun. This now should relieve everything. No more concerns about value or anything like that," Schalles said.

The banks township supervisors say they give a lot of credit to state and federal lawmakers who helped put the project on the fast track and now they say the finish line is finally in sight. 

The overall project will cost a little more than 9 million dollars. Much of that money comes from federal and state grants. 


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