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Hoopeston, 1 Year Later

Updated: Friday, June 20 2014, 10:51 AM CDT

One year ago Thursday, the city of Hoopeston experienced what some call the fire of a lifetime.

In the time since, local fire departments continue to face big costs while the EPA has regulated clean-up efforts that are still ongoing.

Newschannel at Nine's Heather Good breaks down how the fire continues to affect the community and the latest on the clean up efforts.

What a difference a year makes. 12 months ago, firefighters worked right here to combat the flames from the used tire facility -- then months of clean-up -- now the flames and rubble are gone.

"you can remember it just like it was yesterday but then again there's been a lot that's transpired in the last 12 months so as you go by the site you kind of forget what the building looks like a little bit."

It was 5:35 on June 19, 2013 when the Hoopeston Fire Department got the first call about the blaze at J & R Used Tire services.

"We are on the scene basically 60 hours non-stop and then the weeks after that we would average 5-6 calls here a day."

Since the fire, the community has been dealing with the ramifications.

"We basically had to replace all of our turnout gear, our personal gear for 18 guys and replaced almost 95% of our fire hose in a year's time; so that's kind of a big deal."

"A lot of people over on Market Street and even along First Avenue are still having some soot issues. The Township building over here across the street even had some black snow this winter when the wind would blow, it would pick it up."

The Illinois EPA is wrapping up phase two of the clean-up -- already collecting soil and water samples from the site to test for contaminants.

"The samples were all collected on june 12th so the results should be coming in anytime."

If the results are clear the property will be turned back over the the owner. If not the EPA would look at treating the water or removing the soil.

The fire chief and mayor say they have no regrets about how the fire was handled and are appreciative of the outpour of support from the community.

Chief crabtree tells me the fire department is almost back to 0. They are slowly but surely buying the remaining hand tools needed to replace those lost in the fire.




Hoopeston, 1 Year Later

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