Neighbors Complain About 'Horrible' Smell from Dietz And Watson

Neighbors Complain About 'Horrible' Smell from Dietz And Watson Site

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DELANCO, N.J. -

"Gross," said a neighbor.

"You go to bed smelling it, you get up smelling it, you live all day long smelling it," described another. 

For homeowners in the neighborhoods surrounding the still smoldering Dietz and Watson distribution plant in Delanco, the situation quite frankly, stinks.

"It's just a horrible smell," homeowner Nicholas Caroul told FOX 29. 

"The smell, the smoke coming through coming through the house, in the house. My kids can't go outside and play," said Mike Schultz who lives a few hundred feet from the site.

"It's gagging, sore throat, my chest is hurting, my eyes are burning," added neighbor Linda Valonis, who lives in the Perkins Glen development nearby.

It's been 11 days since an 11 alarm fire roared through the giant 450,000 square foot warehouse, barbecuing tons of lunch meat, hot dogs and cheese products. With smoke and the smell of burnt and rotting meat products filling the air for days now, residents have had enough.

"Especially with the heat and humidity, it's just horrible," Schultz said.

"My grandson is sneezing all the time, he's getting headaches from it, he's only eight," Valonis said.

Fire officials say there's still smoke coming from the site because they can't get inside to extinguish hot spots. They say solar panels on the roof are still charged with electricity and it's unsafe to go inside until they're de-energized and removed. The situation forces neighbors like Mike Schultz and his kids to sit, smell and wait.

"It smells like burnt barbeque and smoke, just rotting food," Schultz explained.

"They need to find a way to shut the solar panels down and put the fire out now before there is a health issue," Valonis added.

The county health department is monitoring the air here, they tell neighbors that it's not toxic. The chemicals in the air are an "irritant." Cleanup work has begun at the huge meat-packing distribution center, but neighbors worry the cleanup and stench could last a while.

"They should be in there getting that fire out. It smokes constantly," Caruol told FOX 29.

"We're worried about animals, mice, rats, vermin, everything, definitely a concern as well,' Schultz said.

Steve Riley, a spokesman for Dietz and Watson, said that the company only received permission to start the cleanup work on Wednesday when the building was declared safe to work.

He says the cleanup will "be done as fast as humanly possible." However, he had not timetable for the cleanup work.

FOX 29 called the fire department and stopped by, but no one was available to talk to us. We also contacted the Burlington County Health Department for a comment, they did not return our call.

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