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Woman Suffers Inhalation Issues from Pharr Compost Burning

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PHARR – A Winter Texan said she’s concerned for her health after breathing in smoke from a nearby fire.  

The smell of smoke was still present when a CHANNEL 5 NEWS crew showed up to the mobile park. We learned uprooted citrus trees were being burned nearby.

Minnesota native Dorothy Palmerson said she’s had to put up with it for two days now. She said she had difficulty breathing.

Palmerson said she has escaped the harsh winters for almost two decades. She comes down to South Texas to spend her days outdoors.

“We enjoy that, they walk by. We can talk to people and they ride their bikes,” she said.

Palmerson said the burning at the nearby orchard raised concerns for her safety and health.  

“The safety of the house - health issues too - because people have asthma… It would bother the breathing and we can smell it,” she said.

According to Pharr Fire Marshal Jacob Salinas, a burning permit was granted to the landowners.

In the city of Pharr, burning permits are issued for the open burning of tires, brush, shrubs and limbs for land clearance. He said all trash burning is prohibited.

Part of the regulation also states that burning can only be done when winds does not exceed 10 miles per hour.

“We could still see the flames, the smoke. The wind was out of the south and it blew it and we have ash around too,” she said.

CHANNEL 5 NEWS chief meteorologists Tim Smith said Tuesdays’ wind speed exceeded 10mph in the area. He said the winds reached up to 25mph to 30 mph at some points.

Palmerson hopes the smell subsides so she can be able to go outdoors again.

Salinas said his team went to the field several times after receiving complaints from neighbors in the area. He said the fire was put out immediately, but it will take time for the smell of smoke to dissipate.

The fire marshal said the landowners will not be allowed to burn the trees and will have to haul them off the property. 

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