Bristow tire plant fire continues to smolder, DEQ cites violations

BRISTOW, Okla. — New details released after a tire plant was possibly set on fire in Bristow early Monday morning.

Firefighters say the fire at the Oklahoma Tire Recyclers Plant will continue to burn for a few more days even though it is contained.

Bristow Fire Chief Charles Conkling expressed his frustration about the recycling plant, calling it a hazard and that fire crews worked a similar sized fire at the plant earlier this year.

“It really boils down to is when you are allowed to create a massive fire hazard, unregulated and unenforced this happens. So that is why we are out here a lot,” says Conkling.

A statement made by the Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) communications director says, “There was a documented fire at this facility earlier in 2021. DEQ found violations in a subsequent inspection, and we are in negotiations to enter into an administrative order to resolve the issue. Since the earlier fire, the facility has been actively working to resolve the issue.”

Conkling says he is concerned about the runoff and where it could end up.

The DEQ shared with FOX23 News a recent facility inspection report filed on July 20, saying there were more than five violations reported. A few of the violations involved the “tire pile base” and “tire pile height.”

The DEQ says they will continue to monitor the fire at the Bristow tire recycling facility.

The DEQ also released the following information below about the impact of the tire fire, below:

  • When a tire fire occurs, the tires break down into compounds that are hazardous to human health and the environment, generally including: caustic gases, heavy metals and various hydrocarbons associated with the oil and other chemical feedstock used to produce the tires.
  • Air emissions from a tire fire are dependent on many factors, and we do not know the exact chemicals being emitted from the fire in Bristow.
  • Depending on the length and degree of exposure, health effects could include irritation of the skin, eyes, and mucous membranes, respiratory and cardiovascular effects, and potentially other health conditions. Long term effects from short-term exposure are unknown.
  • The amount of the specific contaminant, the duration and route of exposure (inhalation, ingestion or skin contact) and the health status of exposed individuals are important factors in determining the potential for adverse health effects.
  • Unprotected exposure to the visible smoke plume should be avoided (this advice would also include pets).
  • It is advisable, especially for sensitive populations, to remain indoors if possible and limit outdoor exertion.
  • Oily material may be released into the environment unless contained and collected. These oily materials released onto the ground and into surface water may be flammable. Cleanup efforts are often centered on removing this material and the contaminated fire-fighting water/chemicals from the environment.
  • Debris, ash and oily components of smoke from the fire may be deposited downwind from the fire scene. Soil and/or surface water sampling in the area of deposition may be necessary after the incident.

Conkling says they will continue to investigate if the fire was set intentionally or not.

About 12 people helped with the fire. No one was hurt.