Neighbors concerned as East Cleveland recycling center continues to burn and billow smoke

Posted at 4:43 PM, Oct 30, 2017
and last updated 2017-10-30 17:27:33-04

The Arco Recycling Plant has been a problem for years.

Now, two days after a huge pile of debris caught fire at the plant in East Cleveland, firefighters continue to put out hot spots.

The dump was taking in debris, like concrete and wood, from demolished houses and buildings for the last three years.

The fire started on its own from heat generated by the decomposing materials.

The EPA said the owner was not recycling the debris, which allowed the heap to grow into a massive mess stacked several stories high.

So they shut the plant down in January.
"They weren't operating it properly, so the state and county closed the facility," said Curt Princic with the Ohio EPA.
Neighbor Harris Drummond is concerned smoke from the pile in his backyard poses a health risk.
"The air quality is terrible, on a scale of one to ten it's 15, and this is what we breathe everyday," said Drummond.
The EPA says the air quality is safe.

"We have not had any chemicals that have exceeded any health based levels, so there's no evidence that anyone has been exposed to any dangerous chemicals," Princic said.
Neighbors said the giant mess is a disgusting eyesore.

The EPA says they'll have the huge stacks of debris removed in six months.

Drummond says he'll believe it when he sees it.

"No I don't buy it, because it took more than six months to pile up, it took them three years to get it like that back there, now all of a sudden they're going to get it out of there in six months," Drummond said.

The Ohio Attorney General's office filed a lawsuit against the owner trying to get some money back for the six million dollar clean up.

The owner has since filed for bankruptcy and could not be reached for comment.

Officials said firefighters could be at the site all week putting out flare ups.