UPDATE: 9/17/12 @ 11 p.m.
LOGAN COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Neighbors in one community are getting tired of holding their breath for a problem to be taken care of.
We told you last month about coal remnants from past decades being dumped and burning below ground. Sulfur and ash from that fire are crossing the Guyandotte River to the small town of McConnell, coating porches, the sides of homes, and vehicles.
People say it’s affecting their breathing.
The states’ EPA office contracted the Easter Arrow Corporation to put out the fire.
It's a big chore, digging deep trenches across five acres of land, then covering it back up again.
Vegetation that's grown on top of the old coal remnants is cut and burned, and neighbors say that's only made the problem in McConnell worse.
The company was given 90 days to finish the job. It's now down to less than 50.
Residents say that’s too long to live in those conditions.
"You can't breathe cinders and sut and sulfur from a fire they're trying to put out without there being health problems,” McConnell resident Russell Shell said.
"The air conditioning or the heating unit brings it into the house -- a very strong sulfur smell," said Charlotte Chapman, who lives in McConnell.
The smell coming from across the river of this quaint Logan County community is what the state’s Department of Environmental Protection called a burning refuse fire.
Coal remnants from past decades were dumped there, and they are burning several feet below ground.
Now the fire must be put out.
The West Virginia DEP contracted that job to Eastern Arrow Corp.
"We understand it needs to be done, but we're hopeful it'll happen quickly," said Chapman.
Eastern Arrow has 90 days to finish the job – but it’s not that easy.
Simply put, they have to dig trenches, some 40 to 50 feet deep, up and down five acres of land then fill it all in again.
And vegetation that has grown in the area over the years is cut and burned, with some ashes occasionally falling on nearby McConnell.
"We know it's necessary, but it's just difficult in the summer when you want to be outside and want to be on the deck," Chapman said. "And some people around here have pools, and I'm sure that's affected their summer activities."
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