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Meeting #2 for MLK neighbors focuses on health issues from landfill fire

What will it take to shut down the Harrelson Materials Management landfill? That's the question neighbors had for city leaders Thursday night.

What will it take to shut down the Harrelson Materials Management landfill?

That's the question neighbors had for city leaders Thursday night, during a meeting at the Willis Knighton Community Education Center on Hilry Huckaby III Rd.

A fire burning below the landfill since 2010 has made its way to the surface, and that flare up has burning since June 4th.

Fredrick Willis with Willis Knighton called a community meeting to address health concerns from neighbors and put together a plan to file a class action lawsuit.

"The ultimate goal, the overall objective is to get this thing shut down," says Fredrick Ellis, Sr., with Willis Knighton.

Some neighbors complained about constant coughing, asthma and trouble breathing.

Ellis urged them to see Dr. Larry Daniels to document any symptoms they’re experiencing from inhaling the smoke.

He also plans to bring in a private company to collect land, air and water samples to show the pollutants floating around in the air.

"This problem is multifaceted, and we want to hit it in a multifaceted way,” says Ellis.

Fred Sanders, Assistant to the Fire Chief, says Shreveport Fire Department reached out to Louisiana DEQ today.

State Representative Patrick Williams says he’s reached out to the Attorney General’s Office to see how the landfill can be shut down.

While they’re waiting for responses, Shreveport City Council President Joe Shyne and Councilwoman Rose McCullough assured neighbors their voices are being heard.

Those who live in the MLK neighborhood say they're ready to take any action necessary.

"After tonight's meeting, I hope that we can get together and do what we have to do as individuals and citizens of Shreveport to get this dissolved, [because] no one wants to live in a environment that where it's a dump," says Barbara Jackson, who lives within five miles of the landfill.

"It is a big health concern, and it's a long stemming concern,” says Irma D. Rogers, who lives just three miles away from the landfill. “This is not our first battle with this.”

In 2008, Rogers, along with other neighbors, traveled to Baton Rouge to talk to Louisiana DEQ about putting the landfill out of operation. But things didn't work in her favor.

Ellis says they will have a follow up meeting soon to discuss more details on filing a class action lawsuit.

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