Fire at Hoopeston Tire Recycling Center
By Sean Powers, and Jeff Bossert, with additional reporting from The Associated Press
As many as 16 fire departments are assisting Hoopeston firefighters Wednesday at the scene of a large tire fire at a tire recycling facility in the city.
According to a Hoopeston Police, firefighters were first called to J&R Tire Recycling just past 5 a.m.
Fire departments on the scene included those from Urbana, Danville, Paxton, Normal, and Watseka, and many smaller departments from Vermilion and Iroquois Counties.
There are no reports of injuries.
Police evacuated homes near the fire and heavy smoke as a precaution.
Hoopeston Fire Chief Cliff Crabtree said the building is filed with tires. He added the fire could burn either 24 to 36 hours, or for several days.
Police Chief Mark Drollinger said residents of nearby homes and apartment buildings have been evacuated. He said he know how long residents would remain out their homes.
Lance Smith, a brother of the facility's owner, told the News-Gazette five workers were in the building when the fire began. All managed to escape without injury.
Meanwhile, Illinois EPA Director Lisa Bonnett has asked the Illinois Attorney General’s Office to seek an immediate injunctive court order halting operations at J&R Tire Recycling.
In a statement, Bonnett said her agency found mulitiple violations following a Feb. 6 inspection. She said the company allegadly underestimated the amount of materials present at the site and did not provide an emergency contingency response plan to local police and fire departments.
The IEPA is now seeking a court injunction that would direct the facility’s owners to:
- Cease and desist from any and all activities on-site, including but not limited to the continued storage of used or waste tires on-site.
- Assess damage done by the fire.
- Hire an environmental consultant to investigate and remedy on-site as well as off-site issues created by the incident
- Remove and properly dispose of any remaining waste.
The cause of the fire is yet unknown.