IRVINGTON, Ala. (WPMI) Private property that fire officials say is often used for illegal dumping in Irvington, is becoming a major health concern for folks living in the area.
Just this week volunteer firefighters have responded to three fires on the property off County Farm Road near Murray Hill Road. Piles of junk are everywhere, and when materials like tires and railroad cross ties burn, it can be hazardous to those breathing in the smoke. Now the question is, whose responsibility is it to clean up the mess?
After checking out the site Wednesday, Local 15 contacted Mobile County officials and the Alabama Department of Environmental Management to see what, if anything, is being done.
The county says Soilco Inc. owns the property and that the company may be penalized if it's determined they don't have a dumping permit.
Local 15 wasn't able to contact anyone with the company, but when we brought the issue to ADEM's attention, officials said they'll look into it.
"We're looking at a bunch of hazardous things that have been dumped in here over the last two or three years," said St. Elmo and Irvington Volunteer Fire Chief Marvin Ladnier.
Mattresses, hundreds of tires, creosote treated wood, even what fire officials say are remnants of boom from the BP oil spill are scattered across the old clay pit that sits off County Farm Road.
"See all that's from the oil spill, the old green "pompoms" that were dumped here back in 2010," said Chief Ladnier as he showed Local 15 around the site.
After three fires here in the past seven days, Ladnier says the site used for illegal dumping has become a serious health issue. He believes people are setting fires to gain easy access to scrap metal.
"Creosote, it's what they use on pilings and cross ties. It's hazardous and when it burns it puts off a big black smoke. As a matter of fact you could see this fire from Airport and Schillinger on Tuesday," said Ladnier. "The main concern is the health problem for the community. They've got to breath this stuff."
"I can smell it down the road and it's not a good smell," said Tim Lowe, an Irvington resident.
"My husbands been sick the past week since everything has been burned," said Kali Alonso. She lives across the street from the land that looks more like a burning landfill.
"I really don't want my kids to have issues cause there are probably chemicals being burned that could cause health issues with them," said Alonso.
Ladnier wants the state to step in and take action.
"ADEM needs to be involved. It's their responsibility to get this taken care of," said Ladnier.
A spokesperson with ADEM told Local 15 that the department does have funding specifically for the clean up of illegal dumps and illegal scrap tires. We're waiting to hear whether this case applies.