ASTON, Pa. (Jan. 31, 1999) — Officials are working to compel the owner of an abandoned tire and scrap iron recycling yard to clean up the site following a third arson fire.
Fire crews responded early Jan. 9 to a report of columns of thick black smoke rising from a pile of 5,000 scrap tires at Easton Recyclers Inc.
"It had a good start," said Gerlad Flavelle, Easton deputy fire chief. "It was pretty deep seated."
Firefighters controlled the blaze with water for several hours until a city-hired contractor used heavy earth-moving machinery to scatter the smoldering tire pile.
Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection inspectors verified that no toxic runoff water reached the Lehigh River, about 300 feet from the 2-acre recycling yard.
Easton Recyclers filed for bankruptcy protection and shut down operations in 1998, leaving behind two large tire piles, a massive heap of scrap metal and construction and demolition debris, according to Mr. Flavelle.
An initial investigation indicated the property recently had been sold in a tax sale, but officials later learned the property with the tire and scrap metal piles may still be owned by the operator of the defunct recycling yard.
DEP officials are conducting a title search to find the owner and request removal of the tires, scrap metal and C&D debris, department spokesman Mark Carmon said.
"If it´s a viable entity, we´ll get the responsible party to clean up the site," Mr. Carmon said. "If it´s in bankruptcy we may have to get in line with the other creditors."
City officials have scheduled a meeting to discuss cleanup of the shutdown recycling yard as well as other abandoned parcels.