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New W.Va. tire pile presents challenge to Inwood officials

September 02, 2000

New W.Va. tire pile presents challenge to Inwood officials



By DAVE McMILLION / Staff Writer


INWOOD, W.Va. - In Inwood, where a huge tire pile caught fire in 1993, another pile of up to 10,000 tires has accumulated, according to the West Virginia Division of Highways.

The pile is not nearly the size of the one that caught fire seven years ago. That pile contained about 3 million tires. Hundreds of firefighters from the Tri-State area worked for 36 hours to bring the blaze under control.

But the new pile presents challenges, said Russ Rader, waste tire program manager for the state Division of Highways.

Many of the tires are still on rims, meaning they will have to be removed, Rader said.

Making matters more difficult is up to 9,000 of the tires are divided into two piles, Rader said. The remaining thousand or so are scattered around the property in waist-high grass, Rader said.

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"It's a monumental effort," Rader said.

"Who started it and how, we're not really sure," he said.

The pile is just off the Inwood exit on the west side of Interstate 81. It is almost directly across the interstate from the tire pile that caught fire in 1993, although Rader said he has no reason to believe they are connected.

The property belongs to Silver Properties Limited Liability Co., said Martinsburg attorney Clarence E. Martin, who is managing the property for the company.

Martin said the company owns four-fifths of the property. Another individual, whom Martin refused to identify, owns the remaining fifth. Records in the Berkeley County Assessor's Office list Silver Properties Limited Liability Co. as the owner of the property.

Tax bills for the property are sent to Silver Properties Limited Liability Co., 501 South Queen St., Martinsburg. That is the address listed for Gray Silver Jr., who is listed as a second manager of the property, according to the West Virginia Secretary of State's office.

Silver is the father of Gray Silver III, a local attorney who is the apparent winner of a new circuit court judge's seat this year. Gray Silver III does not have any ownership in the 250-acre site, according to Martin and the younger Silver.

Martin said he believes a one-time tenant on the property whose identity he said he could not recall was responsible for the tire pile, located well off of Arden-Nollville Road.

"It was a situation that was dumped into our laps," Martin said.

The land owners and Bill Butler, an Inwood area farmer who is leasing the land for farming, have entered into an agreement that will determine how the clean-up costs will be paid, Rader said. Rader estimates the cleanup will cost between $15,000 and $20,000.

The state Division of Highways plans to use a new waste tire removal law to clean up the site, Rader said. The law allows the highways department to pay for the cleanup, then assess the cost to the landowner, Rader said.

In the meantime, Martin said he is also trying to determine who is responsible for dumping the tires at the site in an attempt to get them to pay for the cleanup.

Judging from the age of the tires, they may have been there for about 20 years, Rader said.

Rader said he does not know when the cleanup will begin, but it will take about two days to remove the tires.

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