NOFD, DEQ say they're limited when it comes to tire dump fires

NOFD, DEQ say they're limited when it comes to tire dump fires

NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - The state transportation department has now started removing hundreds of tires from beneath the I-10 high rise after a devastating fire that has the bridge's capacity cut in half.

That fire is causing major headaches for thousands of drivers along the city's major artery to the east. Many are wondering why more wasn't done sooner.

The high rise has been partially shut down, due to concerns about the bridge's strength. The dumping of tires in New Orleans East is a decades old problem as evidenced by the fire and the seemingly endless pile of tires on the side of old Gentilly Road.

"We call and ask 'em to put up no dumping signs. It falls on deaf ears," said business owner Andy Hillery.

The I-10 fire was reminiscent of the one that damaged Interstate 85 in Atlanta in May of this year. It caused major traffic upheaval there and forced an inspection of all bridges in the New Orleans area.

"People who do these crimes...go into dark areas. ...We need help," said New Orleans fire superintendent Tim McConnell. He says tire dump enforcement is a perpetual problem, and split three ways between his department, code enforcement and the state. "There are plenty of agencies with enforcement power...we do all we can."

But in this case, the job wasn't done.

The state Department of Environmental Quality says they are limited. They collect $2 for each new tire in the state for disposal, but very little goes to enforcement of tire dumping laws.

"There's just not enough money to cover everything, and this is not high on the list," said Greg Langley with the La. Dept of Environmental Quality.

For 27 year Andy Hillery has operated a freight service on old Gentilly Road, near the fire.

"It's horrible people think this is a the city dump," he said.

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