City reopens landfill, fire covered

BY KRISTEN EAST | JUNE 12, 2012 6:30 AM

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More than two weeks after the Iowa City Landfill fire initially broke out, city officials say they have covered the entire fire site and will continue to focus on fire-containment efforts, according to the latest Iowa City press release.

City contracts completed the "stir, burn, and cover" extinguishing method Sunday, and Geoff Fruin, the city's assistant to the city manager, said officials are currently focused on containing the fire under the clay soil to ensure it doesn't spread to other cells.

"We are taking the steps necessary to make sure the fire doesn't spread and to make sure the fire is not visible," he told The Daily Iowan on Monday.

The "stir, burn, and cover" strategy involved using equipment to stir and crush piles of burning tires and then applying a layer of clay soil to suppress the rest of the fire, the DI has previously reported.

The shredded tires are expected to burn under the clay soil for several days, according to the press release, and city officials expect the fire to smolder for a few weeks.

Iowa City Fire Department officials first responded to the landfill fire at 6:38 p.m. May 26.

City officials reopened the Landfill on Monday; it has been closed for four days. Officials closed the Landfill June 8 after wind caused smoke from the fire to move toward city administrative offices and the scalehouse.

Officials had planned to reopen the Landfill June 9, but it remained closed because of the wind direction. Commercials haulers were directed to deliver at the Cedar Rapids Linn County Solid Waste Agency, 1954 County Home Road, Marion.

Mayor Matt Hayek signed a local disaster declaration June 1, allowing for better state funding assistance and insurance coverage following the fire.

But Fruin said it's still too early to tell whether insurance will cover the ongoing Landfill fire, but damage caused by the fire is still estimated to be around $6 million.

He said the city has submitted the insurance claim, but appraisers are waiting for the fire to completely extinguish before estimating coverage, and this could take several weeks.

"It is a bit premature to say what will happen," he said. "We are waiting to see what insurance says."

Metro reporter Aly Brown contributed to this story.

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