BENTON COUNTY, Ark. (KFSM) — A Bella Vista resident is filing a lawsuit Wednesday (Sept. 4) against the former owner of Blue Mountain Storage, the site where the stump dump fire was burning in Bella Vista for nearly a year.
“There are people responsible for this and we need to get them to pay. To date none of this has been done and so far, all that’s been done is those of us who had nothing to do with it, we have had to pay and that’s just wrong,” Jim Parsons said.
Tom Fredericks owned Blue Mountain Storage and the land where the stump dump was on Trafalgar road for around 15 years but sold it in 2015.“I didn’t do anything. I sold it four years before somebody started that fire and they are trying to blame me for it,” Fredericks said.
Fredericks says when he owned the property, he saw people dump brush, tree stumps and branches, but never anything hazardous.
“The big deal for a year was it was all hazardous waste, hazardous waste that’s all you ever heard. There is no hazardous waste in there, the ADEQ says there is no hazardous waste in there and they did all there digging and they didn’t find anything,” he said.
He says that the actions of Blue Mountain storage caused much distress and financial damage to nearby residents.
Jim Parsons has spent more than $10,000 in court cost trying to get someone other than taxpayers to pay for the cleanup of the site.
“Right now, we are living in a time with all these mass shootings and so forth that people are being asked if you see something suspicious, if you see something that’s a violation of the law, say something. So, I’m saying something,” Parsons said.
In his complaint, he states that Blue Mountain Storage never applied for or a received a permit to operate or lease out the stump dump. Without that permit, it was illegal to enter into a contract with the Bella Vista Property Owners Association to make a financial profit by renting out an unpermitted dump.
He states that Bella Vista Property Owners Association members have already lost more than $3 million trying to put out the fire, and more expense is expected to restore the land.
He is filing the lawsuit this morning (Sept. 4) in Benton County Circuit Court.