LOUISVILLE, Ky. (Nov. 19, 2014) — Two residents of a Louisville neighborhood near a Liberty Tire Recycling L.L.C. facility where a fire in a scrap tire pile occurred have filed a class-action lawsuit in Jefferson County Circuit Court.
The plaintiffs claim the company was negligent in allowing the on-site conditions that caused the fire to occur.
A spokesman for the Kentucky Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) told Tire Business that Liberty Tire had been in violation of state tire storage and fire safety regulations since last June.
Meanwhile, Liberty Tire said it had established a hotline and call center for residents of Louisville's Valley Station neighborhood who were affected by the fire.
The fire at Liberty Tire's Bohannon Avenue location began Nov. 3 in a 30-foot outdoor pile of scrap tires, just as inspectors from the DEP's Division of Waste Management arrived to see if the company had brought itself into compliance with state tire storage regulations after a June 2014 citation from the state.
Inspectors also visited the site Aug. 13 and Sept. 4 of this year, according to a DEP fact sheet dated Nov. 3. Liberty Tire was found in violation of state regulations on those dates as well as on Nov. 3, the fact sheet said.
The DEP had cited the Liberty Tire site previously in October 2012, but declared it back in compliance in January 2013, according to the fact sheet.
The Nov. 3 fire burned for more than 30 hours, and during the blaze police ordered residents within a one-mile radius to stay in their homes and seal their doors, windows and ventilation systems against smoke, soot and particulate matter, according to news reports.
More than 40 firefighters were on the scene during the fire, according to local news outlets.
Betty Manning and Michael Bickel, who filed the lawsuit Nov. 7, seek compensatory and punitive damages for themselves and the approximately 1,000 residents of the Valley Station neighborhood.
Tire Business is trying to obtain a copy of the court brief.
Meanwhile, Liberty Tire has invited Valley Station residents to call 502-603-4698 between the hours of 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. Monday through Friday to ask questions and voice concerns with a team of Liberty Tire representatives.
“We recognize the difficulties that our neighbors have faced as a result of the fire, and we are here to assist anyone whose property was affected,” said Liberty Tire Recycling President Bill Fry in a Nov. 14 press release.
Liberty Tire is working to complete the cleanup effort at the Bohannon Avenue site in time for the Thanksgiving holidays, in order to minimize any further inconvenience, the company said.