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BELLA VISTA -- The most recent air testing done by the Arkansas National Guard showed no evidence to indicate a potential risk to public health from chemicals in the air from the underground fire burning at the dump site along Trafalgar Road, according the Arkansas Department of Health.

Air monitoring was done by the Guard's 61st Civil Support Team on Feb. 26-28 to establish a baseline prior to beginning site remediation, according to a Department of Health news release.

The air was monitored for hydrogen sulfide, hydrogen cyanide, carbon monoxide, oxygen percentage and total volatile organic compounds, according to the release.

The state received results last week from the state Department of Environmental Quality's testing.

None of those air samples showed elevated concentrations of the chemicals, according to a news release. The compounds tested are potentially associated with landfill fires that contain construction debris, household waste or tires, according to the release.

That testing was done at five locations near the dump site on Feb. 10-12.

ADEQ continues to monitor the air at Fire Station No. 2 on Trafalgar Road and near Cooper Elementary School.

Bella Vista resident Jim Parsons believes a state agency has some responsibility for the underground fire. He amended a lawsuit filed last month seeking to have Cooper Communities Inc., Bella Vista Property Owners Association and Tom Fredericks liable for the clean-up costs. The fire has been burning since late July.

Parsons added the Department of Environmental Quality to his lawsuit Wednesday.

The lawsuit claims ADEQ was aware of the stump dump site since 2008 and took no action. The lawsuit alleges negligent oversight of the stump dump, which was operated without a permit and was used as a trash dump.

"ADEQ has a policy of not commenting on pending litigation. At this time, ADEQ has not been served," Donnally Davis with the Department Environmental Quality wrote in an email.

The purpose of the lawsuit is to obtain money to put out the fire, Parsons said.

The state lawmakers approved legislation Tuesday giving the Department of Environmental Quality $20 million in spending authority for contractual services to fight and clean up the fire.

Rogers attorney Ed McClure filed a motion last week on behalf of Cooper Communities requesting Parsons' lawsuit be dismissed.

McClure's motion claims the lawsuit against Cooper should be dismissed because the statute of limitations of five years has passed.

The motion also states Parsons' lawsuit should be dismissed because he has not identified any alleged tax expenditures for which reparation is sought. The motion states Parsons also did not claim any expenses by the state or local government is illegal, misapplied or arbitrary.

The case is assigned to Benton County Circuit Judge John Scott.

Firefighters were dispatched to the area on July 29, where they spotted smoke and what appeared to be the remains of a brush fire, Bella Vista Fire Chief Steve Sims said. Fire Department personnel have said the fire may be burning 50 or 60 feet underground.

Tom Judson, the Property Owners Association's chief operating officer, has said the association operated the dump on leased land from December 2003 to 2016 when the dump was covered with soil.

Nobody monitored the site the past few years it was open, but staff members would remove trash when possible, Judson has said. The operation was closed Dec. 31, 2016, according to Bella Vista's website. The property is now owned by Brown's Tree Care.

Another lawsuit was filed in November that is related to the fire.

Curtis and Tiffany Macomber, who live near the dump site, sued Brown's Tree Care and John Does 1-3 in connection with the fire.

That lawsuit claims continued smoke from the site has created a hazardous situation for the Macombers and their children. The case is assigned to Benton County Circuit Judge Xollie Duncan. An amended complaint will be filed and then Brown's Tree Care will file a response, according to court documents.

General News on 03/13/2019

Print Headline: Air tests at dump fire reveal no health risk, agency says

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