Finishing clean-up, one year after fire

By Anna Carrera

Published 06/20 2014 04:28PM

Updated 06/24 2014 11:48AM

HOOPESTON -- It's been a year since the fire sparked at J&R Used Tire Service. The fire burned for months. It looks very different now than it did back then. Crews came and cleared all the debris off the lot. Neighbors say they still see carbon dust in the area, but they're happy the clean-up went as quickly as it did.

"It was fast," said Larry McElhaney, who's backyard faces the lot. "They did a good job. They put a lot of hours in, so I give them a lot of credit for that."

The Illinois EPA has been monitoring the clean-up effort. Paul Purseglove, who does field operations for the group, says the next phase is testing the groundwater and soil around the area. If those results come back clean, owner Rodney Rogers will be cleared to redevelop the land where the building burned down.

Rogers still runs J&R Used Tire Service in Tilton. It moved into a building just off Highway 74 in October. Purseglove says they do monthly inspections there. Rogers says he's still not sure what he will do with the property in Hoopeston.

As a result of the fire, Governor Pat Quinn has signed a bill to strengthen the oversight of used-tire facilities. The legislation requires storage sites that ship a high number of tires to obtain a solid waste permit to operate. Acquiring a permit will mean submitting documents to the EPA and opening the facility to inspections.

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