The High Tread International tire recycling plant in Lockport caught fire on August 10, 2016 and burned for three days. Now, nearly two years later, neighbors say the cleanup is still going on, sometimes late into the night, and some are raising concerns the sight could be turning into a health hazard.
"We're all very afraid living that close to something so toxic,” Joseph Dipasquale said. He lives a few blocks from the site. "Whether or not the ground is contaminated? Who is testing the soil? Who is doing the work? There is no information forthcoming."
Dipasquale works with Citizens Against Pollution of Niagara, an advocacy group. He hasn’t been able to get any information from HTI Recycling about the cleanup or answers to his questions about the environmental impact.
The city of Lockport is having its own trouble contacting the property owner. The city has not been granted access to the property to conduct building inspections, according to Mayor Anne McCaffrey, who also said she has not been in regular contact with the owner. She called the situation “frustrating”.
Lockport is forced to turn to the courts to seek a warrant granting access to the property. Something officials expect to obtain in the next 30 days.
HTI Recycling has not responded to multiple phone calls and turned 7 Eyewitness News away at the entrance to the facility when we asked to speak with someone inside. While videotaping the property from a public road, one worker moved a forklift to block the view of the wreckage and asked our reporter to leave.
Citizens Against Pollution of Niagara is organizing a public meeting Thursday, May 3, at 6:30 p.m. at the Lockport Public Library to call for more information about the cleanup.