City has to be re­spon­si­ble

The Weekly Vista - - Opinion -

Stump dump fire — who holds owner ac­count­able?

I am writ­ing in re­sponse to the ar­ti­cle in the Sept. 12 edi­tion of the Vista about the stump dump fire. After com­mu­ni­cat­ing with the fire chief and our ward alder­woman and at­tempt­ing (but not suc­ceed­ing) to talk with the mayor, I find that no one is ac­cept­ing any re­spon­si­bil­ity for the health of the cit­i­zens who are breath­ing the air from the fire. I un­der­stand that the owner of the land is prob­a­bly re­spon­si­ble for start­ing the fire, and ac­cord­ing to Chief Sims is re­spon­si­ble for putting the fire out. But who is go­ing to hold the owner ac­count­able? The pa­per says that at this time the ADEQ is not tak­ing any le­gal ac­tion against his vi­o­la­tions, and ap­par­ently the city is not ei­ther. Even if no one takes any le­gal ac­tion against him, what is be­ing done to pro­tect those of us who must breathe the air from the fire? The peo­ple at great­est risk from smoke in­hala­tion are the most vul­ner­a­ble — the el­derly, es­pe­cially those with heart or lung dis­eases, and chil­dren. All we are get­ting from the city of­fi­cials is that they can’t af­ford to do any­thing. Fur­ther­more, Chief Sims told me the fire could go on for years. Has there been any at­tempt on the part of the city to seek help from the state or fed­eral gov­ern­ment? It ap­pears it was cit­i­zens from Bella Vista (not the gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials) who con­tacted ADEQ. Also, what role did the POA play in this? Ap­par­ently they were op­er­at­ing the dump­ing in this area with­out a per­mit for a num­ber of years — and mak­ing money from con­trac­tors in the process. It is the things that were dumped there un­der the POA’s con­trol that are burn­ing now.

The first line of ac­tion in pro­tect­ing the health and well-be­ing of the cit­i­zens of Bella Vista has to be the city. Those of us who live in the area are pris­on­ers in our homes when the wind is blow­ing the smoke to­ward us. And even with win­dows closed, we can smell the smoke. I was told by our ward alder­woman to “rest as­sured that the city is push­ing the owner to get it re­solved.” I don’t know how we can rest as­sured, when we don’t know if any­thing will be done.

Ann Mil­lard Bella Vista

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.