Fire Caused by Tires near Olmito Under Control
OLMITO – A tire fire burning in Olmito is under control, but it could be days before it’s completely out. It was revealed the state was watching the property for the past five years.
The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality knew about the dangers of the property since 2012. However, nothing was ever done to clear it of the massive piles of tires that were being stored. They started burning more than 24 hours ago.
Jerry Cisneros and his employees called it quits early Tuesday. “There was a bunch of smoke, we just couldn’t be here anymore,” he said.
Cisneros’ business is located just one lot down from where a fire was burning in Olmito for more than 24 hours.
Traffic was blocked off through FM 1732, forcing him to conduct business over the phone. He said he’s just glad his business is still standing.
“It was a pretty big fire,” the auto parts shop owner said.
Brownsville Fire Chief Carlos Elizondo said the massive piles of shredded tires are what fueled the fire.
“Just the rubber that they are made out of, they burn, very, very hot and so that bubbler material just burns for a long time. You need to use a lot of water to cool it to be able to break that cycle,” he said.
Elizondo said the department responded to at least three tire fires on the property in the past 10 years. Tuesday’s fire was the most destructive.
CHANNEL 5 NEWS reached out to TCEQ to find out what was done about the property.
In a statement spokesman Andrew Keese said,
“The owner of the property, Fernando Trevino, dba Tex-Mex Mercantile, was referred to the TCEQ’s Enforcement Division for failure to prevent the unauthorized disposal of municipal solid waste. The TCEQ issued a default order against the respondent, which became effective on June 14, 2012.”
The state fined the owner $15,000 and ordered him to clean up the property. He did not pay the fine nor did he clean up the property.
TCEQ said the Office of Attorney General issued an order for payment in December. Keese added the state recently learned the owner of the property died.
Elizondo said the property was just purchased by a couple. They aren’t facing any penalties right now.
The fire is under control but firefighters will stay in the area for a few more hours to make sure the wind doesn’t spark any hotspots. They said it will smolder for at least a couple of days.
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