ATTICA, N.Y. (WIVB) - The Environmental Protection Agency is warning Attica residents to batten down the hatches before crews begin to break up a toxic fire that's been raising a stink in the village.
Trucks are rolling into Attica, preparing for weekend work at Hillcrest Industries. Crews will cut a mountain of material, dousing it with water and foam in an attempt to try to stop the stench, permeating the village's air.
PHOTOS | See images of the enormous pile
Erin Cecere lives yards away from the plant and massive pile. She's concerned about what's floating around in the air.
"It's just a putrid rot that is miserable to your body. You can feel it burning your lungs as soon as you breathe in. It's poison," Cecere said.
Off in the distance is a 40-foot high pile of recyclable materials with fires burning deep inside it. The smell permeates the air, almost like a cigar, but more harsh and much stronger.
Mike Basile from the EPA is personally advising neighbors about the increased smoke, steam and smell they could see, once work begins.
"We're just warning them if they see this plume of mist for three or four days at a time, not to be alarmed understand that we're doing our job, and in order to do our job, that's what you're going to see," he explained.
The EPA is cautiously advising residents to keep their windows closed, and stay inside. At the same time, they say there's nothing to worry about. The ideas seem to contradict one another.
Basile said, "We're actually telling people just to take precautions in the unlikely event something could occur."
With that said, Cecere is evacuating and not taking any chances.
"I feel like it's going to be worse than what that guy's making it out to be," she said.
Armed with purple latex gloves and a sterile specimen container, Jennifer Cotton-Ross is taking samples of rain water, around the Village of Attica. She's taking matters into her own hands because she doesn't trust the agencies. But what does she expect to find?
"Glass, coal, plastic particles...Something you and I should not be breathing."
Cotton-Ross is convinced the particles are coming from nearby Hillcrest Industries. Off in the distance is a 40-foot high pile of recyclable materials with fires burning deep inside it. The smell permeates the air, almost like a cigar, but more harsh and much stronger.
"I've always been concerned about this and I've been sneaking back and forth when it's dark out, across the tracks illegally, just to take better pictures of what it is exactly they're doing back there," she said.
Cotton-Ross says she's had upper respiratory issues since February or March of this year and links her problems to Hillcrest.
With the EPA promising to get the smell under control, Cotton-Ross health issues might soon be resolved.
Basile said, "That'll be done very safely and it'll be done quickly and hopefully in a week it'll be done."
The EPA had conducted air tests, but those results have not yet come in.
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