Dangerous fumes from Keegan Landfill interrupt children’s soccer game

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Dozens of children were forced to leave the soccer field Monday when fumes coming from the Keegan Landfill became too dangerous.

A security guard at Harvey Field in Kearny tells News 12 New Jersey that about 200 children and parents were on the field Monday evening when the air quality monitors went off, forcing them to leave the area. The landfill often produces high levels of hydrogen sulfide gas – which can be harmful to breathe.

"My boss calls me after he gets the alert from the health department. I have to call the other guard and he has to come down here to help me get everyone out of here,” says Kearny Recreation Security Officer Charlie Pannulo.

News 12 has previously reported about the high levels of gas coming from the landfill – along with the poor air quality. Security officers say that while they have had to cancel games before due to the fumes, many parents and coaches say that it has never been this bad.

RELATED: NJ Sports and Exposition Authority: Keegan Landfill odor could worsen 
RELATED: DEP: Landfill smell expected to worsen as work to resolve issue begins 

“I don't think it should happen. I think something has to be done and I feel bad for the children,” says father and coach Marco Pessoa. “This is their field and they deserve better.”

The community is once again calling on the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority, the agency that owns the landfill, to shut it down.

The parents say that they have some tough decisions about whether or not to continue to allow their children to play on the fields.

“They have the Red Bulls coaches here coaching them. It’s a once in lifetime opportunity,” says Edward Henderson of North Arlington. “But am I putting [my son’s] health in jeopardy, here?”

Many New Jersey lawmakers have also called for the landfill to be closed.

The NJSEA was supposed to hold its regular meeting Wednesday. A presentation on the landfill was on the agenda. But the meeting was canceled Tuesday due to what has been described as a “threat.”

It was unclear if the meeting would be rescheduled.

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