ShareThis Page
Underground fire at East Deer site is getting smaller, officials say |
Valley News Dispatch

Underground fire at East Deer site is getting smaller, officials say

Smoke from an underground fire can be seen rising from behind the Pittsburgh Glass Works plant in East Deer on Friday, Aug. 10, 2018.

The plan for dealing with an underground fire at the former Pittsburgh Glass Works plant in East Deer appears to be a simple one: Let it burn.

East Deer Commissioners Chairman Tony Taliani said representatives from the state Department of Environmental Protection, Allegheny County Health Department and Vitro, the property owner, shared that opinion during a recent meeting.

The township has been pressing the company and environmental officials to do something about the fire, concerned it might be adversely affecting residents’ health and the air quality.

Taliani said Allegheny County Health Department officials reported that the fire is having virtually no effect on air quality around the property, despite complaints by residents.

Vitro said trying to open up the ground to extinguish the fire likely would make conditions worse and more dangerous, and the best thing to do is leave it alone, a position shared by DEP, according to Taliani.

The fire started in 2017 when coal refuse, apparently used as backfill for the factory site many years ago, caught fire. In August, it appeared to be getting worse as workers at the plant said blue flames could be seen coming up through cracks in the ground.

Taliani said it appears, based on a recent thermal imaging photo of the property commissioned by Vitro, taking no action may be the right strategy.

A thermal image of the property taken by a drone in December showed a significant reduction in areas where heat is being generated on the property compared with a similar image from September.

“I’m anxious to see what the next (image) is like,” Taliani said.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.