ATTICA, N.Y. (WIVB) - The smoldering stink pile in Attica is creating a bigger stink for residents who say it's making life even more miserable. It was so bad Thursday, a football game had to be sidelined.
Around nine middle school students were ill Thursday morning when an enormous fog cloud atop a 40-foot pile of broken, smoldering glass at Hillcrest Industries blew over to the school complex, which was in the process of a fire drill.
"It was some of the worst smoke I've seen yet, living in the village," said Bethany Hagan.
Jeff Bechtel of the EPA said, "It was just unfortunate timing that the school chose to conduct a fire drill today when we put up a big pile of steam and it went downwind and obviously it went in the direction of the school."
- Through testing, the EPA has determined a number of hazardous chemicals are present in the smoke coming off the pile
- The glass furnaces are off at Hillcrest after the DEC found they release glass particles into the air
Witnesses described it as a choking fog bank, starting at Hillcrest Industries and going across the school, over the football field and on into homes across the street.
Attica School Superintendent Bryce Thompson said, "We realized immediately that it was not good, so we stopped the drill and brought the kids back in and closed the doors and sealed up the building."
While state law requires schools to conduct a certain number of fire drills each year, why did the district decide to hold one on such a windy day?
"With any given day the winds are not anymore different than this. It's just more the direction. If the winds were this strong from the North or East, it'd be a non-issue," Thompson contended.
Hagan picked up her daughter, an 11-year-old student, from the middle school after she began complaining of a headache.
"I really got a headache just being in this school," Hagan said.
Student Jenna Montgomery added, "My classmate, Zach, he puked in his shirt."
Because of the winds and the smoke coming off the pile of glass, the school decided to cancel the JV football game scheduled Thursday night. Thompson says he has spoken to health officials and the EPA and says they tell him that though the smoke may have made a few students ill, they do not anticipate any long-term health effects.
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