Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Railroad tunnel fire impacting local coal companies

New concerns loom as a train tunnel fire continues to burn in Pike County.

On Tuesday, Environmental Protection Agency officials kept a close eye on air quality in the Robinson Creek community. Years ago the wood now burning inside was treated with creosote.

Now, as trains lose access to the rails, the burden is being felt by a local coal company.

Crews worked to block the railroad tunnel with dirt, in an attempt to smother the fire that's been burning since Saturday.

Emergency response officials from the county, state, and federal level are all keeping a close eye on air levels.

Pike County Emergency Management Director, Doug Tackett says, "We are working to make sure the air quality is where it should be and we are not into what would be called alarm limits."

EPA officials are on site and watching levels in communities, schools, and a nearby nursing home.

Officials with TECO Coal say their, Premier Elkhorn site, uses the rail line and are currently exploring other options for shipment.

Officials are still investigating the cause of the fire.

CSX Transportation officials say they do not have a timeline for when the tunnel will reopen.