City has to be responsible
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