LOUISVILLE, Ky.—Liberty Tire Recycling has officially closed the Louisville tire recycling plant that was damaged in a fire last November.
According to a company statement issued Aug. 19, Liberty Tire worked with the state of Kentucky on the discontinuation of collection and processing activities in Louisville with the goal of closing the plant July 31.
“The company successfully achieved that goal,” Liberty Tire said. Although the company has left the site permanently, it will continue to work onsite with the state to complete the agreed-upon remediation there, it said.
The plant, located on Bohannon Avenue in Louisville, caught fire Nov. 3, 2014. The blaze began in a 30-foot outdoor pile of scrap tires, just as state inspectors arrived to see if Liberty Tire was complying with orders issued after the Kentucky Department of Environmental Protection issued citations at the site in June 2014.
The fire burned for more than 30 hours, according to news reports. More than 40 firefighters were on the scene, and police ordered residents of the neighborhood to stay indoors and seal their doors, windows and ventilation systems against smoke, soot and particulate matter.
The main reason for closing the Louisville facility, Liberty Tire said, was because the local market wasn't strong enough to support a full-scale tire recycling operation.
“The only viable option for the amount of volume in that market was to shred and landfill the tires, which is not Liberty Tire Recycling's goal,” the company said.
Liberty Tire will increase capacity at its other Kentucky facilities, where stronger markets will support the company's recycling initiatives, it said.
Betty Manning and Michael Bickel, two residents of the Valley Station neighborhood where the Louisville plant was located, filed a class action lawsuit against Liberty Tire Nov. 7 in Jefferson County (Ky.) Circuit Court. Manning and Bickel sought compensatory and punitive damages for themselves and approximately 1,000 Valley Station residents who were affected by the fire.
There was no immediate word as to the status of the lawsuit.