EPA Fines Man; Building Commission 'Closely Monitoring' Demolition

Published 08/19 2014 06:31PM

Updated 08/19 2014 06:39PM

After receiving complaints from neighbors and calls from Eyewitness News, the Evansville EPA levies a fine against a man for illegal burning at a property on E. Eichel Ave. Neighbors alleged the man was tearing down an abandoned house 'board by board' and burning the material. However, the man disputes that.

The man said he was burning portions of a garage that had been damaged in a recent storm. Either way, it's still illegal, according to Jacob Keating, the director of the Evansville EPA.

"You are not allowed to burn any grass, trash, leaves, any kind of treated or painted wood," Keating said. "The only thing you are allowed to within the city ordinance is burn that dry, seasoned, clean wood. Burning treated wood releases harmful chemicals, especially when you get it from an unknown source or even from a shed that's been on your property for who knows how long, That could have any number of chemicals including lead."

A day after receiving our calls on August 13th, the EPA levied a fine against the man.

"The majority of people, once they get the first monetary penalty, suddenly seem to want to be in compliance with the ordinances," Keating said.

The property the man is working on was bought six months ago by the woman he lives with, according to property records. The man obtained a permit from the Building Commission six months ago, according to Commissioner Ben Miller. The man has repeatedly been seen tearing down the structure board-by-board. The structure is without a second floor, a roof, a back wall and a side wall.

The state of the structure is on the Building Commission's radar, prompting a visit from an inspector Tuesday afternoon. Given the condition of the property, the Building Commission is concerned about it posing as a possible safety hazard, Miller said. The situation is being closely monitored, Miller said.

Copyright 2017 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.