TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (WIAT) — Tuscaloosa residents are concerned and angry after a controversial recycling plant caught on fire — and not for the first time.
Resident Linda Greene says it should not have happened at all. Liberty Recycling, located on 24th Street, was supposed to move the shredder machines operation used to crush cars to a new location last month.
“I am angry because they are under the judge’s order to have the shredder removed by February 1, 2023, and they’ve made no effort to move it,” Greene said. “It makes me angry because this wouldn’t happen in any other community in the USA except a Black community.”
Greene has had enough with her neighbor Liberty Recycling that she has decided to be a part of the action against it. She is part of a group that filed a lawsuit against the company complaining about loud noise, explosions, fire and pollution.
“Well, the fires are a nuisance because we get black dust all over our homes and we have to get our home pressure washed,” Greene said. “It gets in our soil and I have a garden to plant but don’t trust the soil because of all the chemicals from Liberty.”
City councilwoman Raevan Howard confirmed the plant was ordered by the court to move the shredder machine operation to a new location in Tuscaloosa County. However, Howard says the recycling center is still operating which led to another fire Monday afternoon.
“It causes concerns for myself and my community and we don’t know what toxins are being put in the air so we don’t know what our air quality is live,” Howard said. “So at the end of the day, Liberty has to cease its operations at that facility and has to move to another spot.”
Tuscaloosa Fire Chief Randy Smith says there have been many fires and explosions at the plant over the years and is very concerning.
“It is concerning for the health and safety of the residents. We thank them for being patient with the city and mayor to get this move started and it’s finally on its way,” Smith said. “We think this will be the best for the community to relocate that plant.”
Smith believes the fire was caused by workers trying to move a piece of equipment off the property to the new location when it caught fire. There were no injuries.