LA Sues Recycling Center for Fire Costs

The City of Los Angeles has filed suit against Clean Up America, Inc. over the costs of battling a trash fire that took six weeks to fully extinguish.

Clean Up American operates a recycling center that is authorized to have up to 2.8 million pounds of trash in piles as high as 12 feet. According to the lawsuit, on September 18, 2016 Clean Up America had a trash pile that was 25 feet high, 252 feet long and 250 feet wide, and contained an estimated 22 million pounds of trash.

According to the Los Angeles Times, the fire was knocked down in a day, but it took over a month to fully extinguish it. The Times quoted LAFD Deputy Chief Phillip Fligie as saying: “Basically it was a mulch pile. It’s very, very problematic because you can’t put it out unless you spread it out and hit it with water. It continued to smolder because it created its own heat.”

A four person crew remained on scene until November 16, 2016. The suit seeks to recoup the costs associated with extinguishing the fire, as well as requiring Clean Up America to comply with state and local regulations. More on the story.

About Curt Varone

Curt Varone has over 40 years of fire service experience and 30 as a practicing attorney licensed in both Rhode Island and Maine. His background includes 29 years as a career firefighter in Providence (retiring as a Deputy Assistant Chief), as well as volunteer and paid on call experience. He is the author of two books: Legal Considerations for Fire and Emergency Services, (2006, 2nd ed. 2011, 3rd ed. 2014) and Fire Officer's Legal Handbook (2007), and is a contributing editor for Firehouse Magazine writing the Fire Law column.
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