WALLACE — An Elm Lane resident who has repeatedly burned trash in the woods surrounding his property, releasing acrid fumes and creating the potential for a massive forest fire, has been warned by police that he will be arrested if he starts another fire.
Brandywine Regional Police Chief Mark D. Kocsi said he and fire officials have been dispatched to Vincent Marchiafavas house at least 10 times. Residents have complained of odors and smoke coming from hisproperty.
Kocsi said Marchiafava picks up any trash on his 11-acre property, walks into the woods and burns it. When burning the rubbish, Marchiafava doesnt keep water nearby, or otherwise have any way to contain the fire.
Among the items burned are tires, plastic oil filters and piping.
“He burns whatever he can,” said Kocsi, speaking at Wednesdays meeting of the board of supervisors.
Marchiafava, who was reached by phone at his house, said he had a permit to burn the trash. When asked who had given him the permit, he said, “The office of the county,” and hung up.
Both police and Glen Moore Fire Company officials said Marchiafava has never shown them a permit.
Fire Chief Jeff Seese said the fires range in size from a small circle to a quarter of an acre. He said the fire company handles similar situations a couple of times a year, but Marchiafavas fires have been an ongoing problem. He said its been at least 18 months since they first responded to a fire on Marchiafavas property.
Seese said the smoke created by the fires is not toxic to nearby residents because of the distance between Marchiafavas house and the next nearest one. The main concern is that one of the fires could become too large for fire officials to control.
Seese and Kocsi are in the preliminary stages of drafting a burning ordinance. They have recently begun reviewing ordinances from other townships to get an idea of what the ordinance should include.
Kocsi said he has met with officials from the Department of Environmental Protection and the Division of Waste Management, and both agencies have concluded that Marchiafava is illegally burning the waste. DEP representative Melissa Menkevech could not be reached for comment.
Police have sent a letter to Marchiafava warning him that further violations will result in his arrest. Kocsi said he is looking into what charges would be brought against him.
“Hes risking a catastrophe with the woods up there,” Kocsi said. “We have to be very strict. If we go up there, hes gettingarrested.”