WASHINGTON-The Philadelphia Tire Disposal Inc. fire fits a familiar pattern of unscrupulous tire disposal operators creating a catastrophe, according to Michael H. Blumenthal, executive director of the Scrap Tire Management Council. ``There's nothing good about a tire fire,'' he said.
``But it may get city officials thinking about how to prevent this in the future. The solution is to enforce the regulations they already have.''
Most cities have fire ordinances and permitting regulations regarding scrap tires, Mr. Blumenthal said. But too often those regulations go unenforced as police find themselves swamped with more immediate crimes.
Legal tire haulers cannot compete price-wise with illegal haulers who take the tires, dump them and leave without a trace, according to Mr. Blumenthal. The tire handlers indicted in Philadelphia, he noted, operated illegally, and one of them was on probation for forging a tire storage permit.
``Sooner or later, people will start to figure out that you can only deal with licensed haulers,'' he said. ``Fires like this will plague the industry until there are state-by-state efforts to stop them.''