After the Rockport Fire Department spent the weekend trying to extinguish an underground fire at Mid-Coast Solid Waste, local companies, led by Ferraiolo Construction, began bringing truckloads of clay to cut off oxygen to the fire.

Rockport Fire Chief Jason Peasley said the department worked two four-hour stints on Saturday and Sunday keeping the fire in check. The work included running 900 feet of 4-inch line to the top of the smoking landfill and using an excavator to drive custom-built pipes into the ground to more directly pump water on the fire. Peasley said that over the course of two days they pumped almost a million gallons of water through the pipes that were driven up to 18 feet into the ground. On Sunday night they set up a sprinkler-like system to douse the area.

On Monday morning, however, smoke was still rising from other areas and the decision was made to “cap” the fire.

He said it was impossible to know what started the fire, which at one point covered a 30-foot section with 4-foot flames, but that “every few years something will flare up.”

The last fire at the facility that required attention from local firefighters was Dec. 5 to 7, 2018.

Peasley said he would like to see more research done into ways to keep this from happening in the future. He mentioned consulting with other, larger solid waste facilities to see what methods they use to reduce the risk of fires.

Combined with car accidents and assisting at a structure fire in Camden, Rockport firefighters spent 14 hours over the holiday weekend responding to calls.

In a public notice, MCSW stated that work on the landfill “will cause closures and delays that will alter the hours of operation of the landfill only.”

The notice, which is available at midcoastsolidwaste.org, goes on to state “the bulk of construction will proceed for the week of July 8th” and “during normal operating hours… there will be times when there will be no access to the landfill permitted.”