BELLA VISTA, Ark. (KNWA) — A lawsuit has been filed against three entities to help foot the bill for the cleanup of the Trafalgar Road fire in Bella Vista.
Bella Vista homeowners claim the stump dump fire is still causing health concerns, even as the state is working to put it out.
On Wednesday morning resident Jim Parsons filed a lawsuit against the Bella Vista Property Owners Association, Cooper Communities, and Tom Fredericks, the owner of Blue Mountain Storage.
“In this particular case, we do have some guilty parties that did this and we do have the evidence to prove and so we would like for them to pay for this cleanup,” Parsons said. “They have the deep pockets to do it, so let’s ask them to clean up the mess that they made.”
Parsons said the POA rented the stump dump from Blue Mountain Storage from 2003 until 2016, claiming it was used as a junkyard.
Last month Governor Asa Hutchinson signed a proclamation officially declaring the Trafalgar Road fire an emergency, dedicating millions to put it out.
EnSafe Inc., an engineering firm, has been contracted by the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) to put out the fire, eliminate the smoke, and remove the hazardous substances from the site.
“It was an illegal dump all along. It’s an unauthorized dump site and yet here was Cooper and the POA dumping stuff anyway, and the owner letting him,” Parsons said.
And while the cost to put out the stump dump fire keeps changing, Parsons says taxpayers shouldn’t have to foot the bill.
“We want them to pay for it and we feel like we have things in Bella Vista that’s just sitting there. The POA could sell that and get our money from there. Sell golf courses to pay for the mess they caused.”
The POA released this statement:
“Once we officially receive the complaint filed against the property owners association, we will review the allegations. We are unable to make further comments regarding ongoing litigation.
In late November, Curtis and Tiffany Macomber and their sons filed a lawsuit against Samuel Care Enterprises, DBA Brown’s Tree Care, of negligence for causing the fire, failing to properly manage it [fire], creating a nuisance — they said hazardous smoke caused by the fire is coming onto their property.
The owner of Brown’s Tree Care denied having a controlled burn on the property.