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South Portland residents upset by trash burning

SOUTH PORTLAND (WGME) -- Residents in one South Portland neighborhood are fed up with a homeowner who, they say, is using her fireplace as a trash can.

A dozen residents on Willard Street have submitted a petition to the city to force a public hearing.

"Just smoky, oily and noxious," said Terry Reager.

Reager signed because she said the fumes have been a problem for years, every time the homeowner at 29 Willard Street burns household trash in her fireplace.

According to the petition, it includes plastics and meat trays, releasing fumes that cause the air quality to be a major health hazard.

Some neighbors said it causes nausea, headaches and disorientation.

"It's the type of neighborhood where most people mind their own business, but this has gotten so out of hand, it's hard to ignore it," said Reager.

When CBS 13 went to ask the homeowners their side of the story, a woman named Mary said "buzz off."

But at least one neighbor is coming to her defense. Donald Gotelli said he's never smelled anything and that it's all a personal vendetta.

"She's received anonymous letters in her mailbox saying, 'Stop burning trash,'" said Gotelli.

"It's not personal," said Reager. "It just needs to stop because it is so sickening and annoying and if people want to sell houses or rent houses, we don't want it to impact that."

The city council will hold a public hearing to determine whether 29 Willard Street is, in fact, a public nuisance. The meeting is Monday at 7 p.m.