ASHBY — Following a massive August fire at an illegal landfill, the town has received $200,000 in funding to cover expenses.
First responders from more than 25 communities responded to the fire, which burned approximately 50 feet underground and spanned more than 500 yards, state Sen. John Cronin’s office said in a press release.
Both the state Department of Environmental Protection and the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency visited the site after the fire had been contained to document environmental violations. To contain the fire, more than 6 million gallons of water were delivered to the town, which has no public water.
“Ashby was put in a dire financial situation after a massive underground fire broke out this summer,” Cronin said. “The costs incurred while containing the fire placed a huge strain on the town. I’m happy to have been able to secure the funds to ensure that those responsible for containing the fire are properly compensated while alleviating the financial burden on the town.”
“Senator Cronin and his staff worked tirelessly to secure these funds to assist the town with the financial impact of the public safety emergency,” said Ashby Town Administrator Christine Lindberg. “The town of Ashby is extremely grateful that Senator Cronin continues to provide outstanding leadership and advocacy for all our residents.”
A town of approximately 3,000 people, the costs associated with the fire proved to a be a significant expense for Ashby, whose annual operating budget is only $5 million. The funding secured by Cronin will cover costs associated with excavation equipment, first responder overtime, and fuel and equipment replacement. The earmark was included in the Legislature’s supplemental budget, which passed both the House and Senate on Thursday, Nov. 3.
The Ashby Selectboard has declared a state of emergency to enable the town to pay for the costs associated with the fire.