LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - Three days after being found guilty of violating state environmental law in a civil trial, the owner of a local recycling center told officials he accidentally set a massive fire just north of town.
Fire teams from seven area agencies spent hours Monday night trying to put out the flames at the Lubbock County Recycling Plant. The plant's owner, Larry Webb, tells authorities he was refueling his truck when the gasoline caught fire. He was taken to UMC with facial burns and has since been released.
More than 70 firefighters from seven different agencies spent hours Monday night fighting a massive fire at the Lubbock County Recycling Plant north of the airport.
On Tuesday the fire was contained, but continued to burn. "We are on standby if anything happens, if it does get out of hands, if it does get out of hand, we'll call out more people to help," said New Deal Fire Captain Brad Murph.
Murph says the fire could burn for months, currently what's burning is asphalt and wood shingles. According to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality Recycling Centers are supposed to recycle at least 50% of each material they receive every six months.
"There is a certain amount of recycling material that when it comes in, it's suppose to go back out and you can tell there is more coming in then going out," Lubbock County Commissioner Patti Jones.
Jones says she wishes the plant would close down. "I'm not against recycling, the plants that do it and do it properly they have a great profit margin, they do a really good job, but this one has been more of a problem than anything since it's been inception," said Jones.
The TCEQ has been dealing with the recycling plant and its owner Larry Webb for several years. "We've been closely monitoring this operation and have noted numerous violations and those violations were referred to our enforcement division down in Austin," said Jeff Bertyl with TCEQ.
Bertyl says Webb has been cited for not properly recycling and currently there is a temporary injunction against Webb from operating the facility and that's been in effect since last December.
Last week Webb stood trial in Austin for the current recycling violations and was found guilty.
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