HOOPESTON – Cleanup efforts are on schedule and should be finished within six to eight weeks at the site of a June fire at a tire recycling facility in eastern Illinois, state Environmental Protection Agency officials said.
The fire in Hoopeston was sparked June 19 at J&R Used Tire Service Inc. by static electricity and eventually engulfed the 400,000-square-foot brick facility. Heavy, black smoke was seen for miles and more than 100 firefighters from Illinois and Indiana battled the flames at the 10-acre site.
Illinois Environmental Protection Agency spokesman Andrew Mason told The News-Gazette that about half the site has been cleared. Hoopeston is about 40 miles northeast of Champaign, near the Indiana state line.
Previously there were concerns about contaminated runoff in a ditch near the site that led to a fish kill. But a dam was built to contain the water, which was treated and slowly released. Mason said the treatment process is no longer necessary or a concern.
Hoopeston Mayor Bill Crusinberry said the Illinois EPA has regularly given him progress reports on the cleanup.
"It's better than expected," Crusinberry said.
The newspaper reports the business had more than 50,000 tires, several large piles of shredded tires and tire pieces and 3,000 gallons of fuel on the property.
The Hoopeston Fire Department, along with other departments that responded to the fire, lost equipment in the blaze. Hoopeston city employees also worked overtime. Crusinberry said those costs total nearly $250,000 for the city. He said city and fire department insurance has covered some of the cost. He said the city is submitting the rest to the owners' insurance.
Information from: The News-Gazette, http://www.news-gazette.com