Illegal trash dump fire continues to burn in Cartwright

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CARTWRIGHT, OK -- An illegal trash dump has been burning for nearly three days in Cartwright and residents are concerned the smoke may be harmful to their health.

Smoke continues to smolder from an illegal dump off South 4th Street in Cartwright.

"The smoke makes it kind of hard to breathe sometimes. I'm sure it's hard to people who have asthma," Lisa Russell said.

Nearby residents we spoke to say they worry the smoke is more than just bothersome. They fear it may be harmful to their health.

I'm sure some of it is I mean there ain't much telling what was dumped in there," Russell said.

For years, Cartwright Assistant Fire Chief David Bray says people have been dumping trash on the property -- despite a warning sign.

"Looks mainly like household trash, which is both illegal to be dumped in that location and also illegal to be burned in Oklahoma," Assistant Chief David Bray said.

Bray says they learned of the fire early Tuesday morning and are looking for who may have set it. They have since contained it, but it is difficult to fully extinguish due to the buildup of materials.

"Needless to say there's years and years of stored trash there that's on fire. We've been out there several times, we've dumped a total of 57,000 gallons of water a little bit over that on the fire. Water and foam mixture both," Bray said.

Bray says at this time he is unsure if what is burning is harmful to residents. He believes the fire was started on county property, and they have asked county commissoners for assistance on putting the fire out.

"We don't have any of the heavy equipment necessary to either maintain the right of way, or to either bring in the dirt or cover the fire," Bray said.

Residents like Ashley Olsen say they want the fire extinguished and help clearing the trash.

"I'd like for this town to be cleaned up," Ashley Olsen said.

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