The city’s fire department ended its fire watch at a tire-filled Shady Street industrial building where a fireman was posted 24 hours a day for more than three months to ensure the warehouse did not ignite.
Fire chief Michael Postorino said the fire watch began on March 20th, 2015 and ended on June 29th, 2015 lasting 102 days. Fire officials declared the building an imminent hazard after it was discovered the Bunker Hill section building contained hundreds of thousands of junk tires.
Tire fires are extremely difficult to extinguish and very expensive to clean up, according to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
Bob Considine, spokesman for the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP), said the building has been emptied of tires. He said the only tires that remain at the site are few trailers parked outside of the building.
The building contained 350,000 or more tires, according to the source who tipped off city officials. The junk tires were stuffed inside the building by Full Circle Tire Recycling which was headquartered at the site.
Dave Renta who is listed as the owner of the tire recycling company could not be reached for comments.
An exact count of the number of tires that were inside the massive building that stretched ten addresses, 22-32 6th Avenue, was not available. “I don’t know if we had a physical count, but let’s just say too many,” said Postorino. “Whatever he had, it was too many.”
The fire watch cost “significant” amount of money for the building’s owner, a North Bergen-based limited liability company called Shady Street Realty. An exact cost could not be ascertained.
NJDEP investigators visited the Bunker Hill section building in April. State officials at the time suggested Renta would be fined, but it’s not clear whether he faced any penalties. The building’s owner cooperated with the city, said Postorino at the time.
The chief said a violation was issued that prompted the fire watch. He said the fire department issues fines to bring the property owner into compliance. “If they become compliant that’s all we’re interested: compliance,” said Postorino. “As long as they become compliant, they wouldn’t be required to pay kind of a fine.”
Postorino said the property owner has been paying the costs associated with the fire watch. He said to date the building owner has been current on his payments to the city.