TREVORTON — Firefighters from multiple municipalities in Northumberland County battled a pit fire in Zerbe Township for about five hours Saturday night that threatened an abandoned coal mine on Big Mountain.

Northumberland County Emergency Management Agency and Public Safety Director Steve Jeffery said the fire was reported at about 6:15 p.m. in a mountain area off Gap and Shingara roads near the Shingara Memorial White Cross.

Jeffery said a pit where the fire was reported was filled with thousands of tires and trash. He said the fire reportedly spread into an abandoned mine shaft about 7:50 p.m., causing heavy smoke to fill the air that could be seen for miles.

Eight tanker trunks dumped full loads of water onto the tire fire and members of the Shingara family used heavy machinery to fill two air vents with dirt and rock to stop a draft from stoking the fire, Jeffery said.

The fire was brought under control after 11 p.m., but remains burning this morning.

Jeffery said officials from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection and its Bureau of Abandoned Mine Reclamation were expected to inspect the area today.

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