Environmental experts to examine site of Maricopa tire fire

MARICOPA, AZ - Environmental experts tell ABC15 they will visit the site of Monday night's tire fire in Maricopa within the next week.

They say their main concern is soil contamination.

This is the third fire in four years at the abandoned rubber recycling business, now owned by Empire Group, according to fire officials.

The blaze that broke out Monday night lasted five hours. Fire crews, with help from an environmental company, put it out by covering the flames with dirt.

Officials say the fire is still smoldering underneath the dirt and could stay that way for months.

"That's what investigators will do, try to find the origin of the fire and find the responsible parties," said Brad Pitassi, with the Maricopa Fire Department.

The cause of the fire remains a mystery, just like the even larger blaze that erupted at the same site in 2007.

Tire particles are considered toxic, but Monday night's winds blew the fumes away from the city limits.

Environmental experts will reportedly check the soil for contamination and could cite or fine the owners.

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