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Neighbors complain about smoke from outdoor coal furnace


By Maria Miller

ELMORA, Pa. -- People in the small community of Elmora, Cambria County told 6 News that one of their neighbors is smoking out the entire town every time he fires up his outdoor coal furnace But township supervisors are at odds because technically, they say, he's not breaking any ordinance.

"I had the permit in hand," said Tom Bensor. "I wouldn't do nothing without the permit."

Bensor said he applied for a permit in West Carroll Township and got the go ahead last year before installing an outdoor coal furnace in his back yard. But now he said he's been told he can't have it.

"My question is, if the township knew it was going to be a problem, why did they give me a permit in the first place."

6 News talked with township supervisor Drew Basset, who said the township does have an ordinance against any outdoor furnace now, but said it wasn't created until after Bensor installed his. Technically, when it comes to the township, Bensor's not violating any ordinances but neighbors say he's not giving them any consideration.

"It's a pretty quiet neighborhood until the smoke rolls in," said Melody Polisky, who lives a few houses down. "It's a heavy white smoke and it's choking sometimes."

While they didn't want to be identified, there were several neighbors who shared the same thoughts and gave 6 News pictures that they said show the smoke linger through their small town.

"You can't open the windows," said Polisky. "My sister in law lives up the road and she can't go outside at all."

Bensor said the Department of Environmental Protection has already warned him to stop using the furnace, but he told 6 News:

"I'm (going to) fire it. I have no choice," said Bensor. "It's my main source of heat. I can't afford $3 a gallon for oil. I can't do it."

The DEP told 6 News there aren't any regulations when it comes to outdoor coal furnaces because they're just not that common. However, smoke drifting from any type of furnace onto another property is considered an air quality concern.

The DEP said it is aware of the issue and has been in contact with the township. It said if it receives proper proof, such as pictures, violations and fines could be in order.

 
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Edgar Snyder

Washington Times

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