A fire at a privately owned landfill in Lee County’s Egypt community spread out of control Monday afternoon, causing the evacuation of nearby residents. An evacuation was in place earlier, called for by Lee County authorities. The American Red Cross says they set up shelters for approximately 50 evacuees. The evacuation had been lifted after DHEC and EPA air-monitoring around the area Tuesday night indicated no problems.
The fire started about 3:00 p.m. on Monday, with about 25 fire trucks from Lee, Kershaw, Darlington and Sumter counties responding to the blaze using 160,000 gallons of water and unable to extinguish the flames. Lt. Brandon Holloman of the Lee County Fire Department said officials planned to let it burn out.
Officials say that the pit includes industrial waste, household garbage and assorted waste. DHEC’s Thom Berry Wednesday stated, “DHEC’s investigation of this illegal dumpsite will continue and we’ll go wherever it will take us. This is an unpermitted facility. It’s not supposed to be there, and so we will be conducting an investigation into how this took place, and then what needs to be done to address the problem.”
Berry said as of Wednesday there still was some fire and smoke from the fire.
According to Berry, if they can identify a responsible party, the person or persons who put this material there, under the law, will be responsible for cleaning up this waste site. Berry added, “Until then, the responsibility under the law falls back upon the property owner.”