Blaze still burning at tire recycling plant; Records reveal plant not in compliance with state standards

Published: Nov. 3, 2014 at 3:59 PM EST|Updated: Nov. 10, 2014 at 3:59 PM EST
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Smoke from the fire could be seen miles away. (Source:, WAVE 3 News)
Smoke from the fire could be seen miles away. (Source:, WAVE 3 News)
A large fire broke out at a tire recycling plant Monday. (Source: WAVE 3 News)
A large fire broke out at a tire recycling plant Monday. (Source: WAVE 3 News)

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Louisville Metro emergency officials have issued a shelter in place order for people living near a large fire at a tire recycling plant in the southwestern part of the county.

The fire was reported at 10:15 a.m. Monday at Liberty Tire Recycling, 14201 Bohannon Avenue. The black smoke from the fire can be seen for miles across the area.

The shelter-in-place order is for a one-square-mile area around the fire. Residents in the area, especially those with respiratory problems, are urged to stay in their homes, close their doors and windows and turn off devices that bring outside air into the home.

Winds blew the smoke to areas north and northeast of the fire location. Metro Public Health and Wellness crews responded to the scene to monitor air conditions. MSD, the National Weather Service and the American Red Cross are also monitoring the situation.

Pleasure Ridge Park firefighters are working to extinguish fire, classified as a level one hazmat situation, that reportedly started from a large pile of shredded tires, burning from the bottom up.

MetroSafe spokeswoman Jody Duncan said the fire will be a long-term incident because the flames will be difficult to extinguish.

“PRP did respond to that fire and found about 100 feet of shredded tire and 30 foot tall,” said Duncan.

Curtis Johnson works at Liberty Tire Recycling and lives down the street from his job. He was supposed to go to work Monday night.

“It's kind of devastating to see that,” said Johnson. “I care about that place and it's my way of life.”

Johnson isn't alone. Richard Luce stood off Dixie Highway not knowing what to do with his tire load that he was supposed to bring back.

“My main concern is my coworkers,” said Luce. “Anytime you see something like that you really don't know.”

“Right now we are flowing just over 2,000 gallons of water a minute on the fire,” said PRP Fire Chief Vincent Smith. “To be quite honest, to put of fire out of that magnitude you'd probably need to have 10 to 12 times the amount of water to suppress that fire.”

In addition to the water, LG&E crews are bringing in loads of dirt and the Louisville Regional Airport Authority has brought in a truck that produces foam to help put out the flames.

One firefighter did sustain minor injuries and was taken to an area hospital. The cause has not yet been determined, but arson is assisting.

WAVE 3 News received some background on the company from the Kentucky Department of the EPA. Liberty Tire Recycling had been given violation notices at least twice in the last two years for not meeting requirements for the proper storage of waste tires.

Inspectors were on their way to the site Monday to follow up on a violation and arrived as the fire started.

Currently, the company is still not in compliance with state standards.

To view the Liberty Tire Services of Ohio permits, click here. To view a summary of the company's compliance history and issues, click here.

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