Embattled recycling center sparks another fire in middle of move

WVUA 23 News Student Reporter Giselle Hood

Liberty Recycling Center caught fire once again Monday, leaving residents and city leaders wondering why the business hasn’t picked up and moved in accordance with a civil court order.

According to the order, the plant agreed to leave its current location by Feb. 1. It’s at least the third fire at the facility over the past year.

“The citizens have done their part,” said District 2 Council Member Raevan Howard. “Now I’m doing my part legally to make sure if they do not relocate soon — and I mean as soon as possible — then I’m in a position where we can take legal actions as a city.”

Tuscaloosa Fire Rescue Battalion Chief Quintin Brown said he suspects the incident was caused by a piece of equipment catching fire during relocation efforts. Firefighters had the blaze quenched after about 30 minutes, Brown said.

“It appeared that the workers on site actually started getting the fire under control first,” Brown said. “We just went inside and aided them with taking care of the rest of the fire.”

Many District 2 residents said they’re anxious about the plant’s possible impact on their health and want it gone as soon as possible.

“When you have fires at a location like this business, it does cause a lot of concern for the community and makes us wonder what type of chemicals are now in the air,” Howard said. “What is it doing to our air quality in this area?”

The incident comes one week after Liberty bought a new facility outside Tuscaloosa city limits and agreed to relocate.

“I am hoping this is just a result of them relocating,” Howard said. “And they’re keeping their word about what they have promised the community they would do.”

An investigation into the cause of the fire is ongoing.

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