Community meeting: Neighbors concerned, frustrated about North Knoxville recycling fire site

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COVER PHOTO_Neighborhood meeting with city officials following recycling center fire_0513_1557803614238.JPG.jpg

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – Neighbors gathered Monday night to discuss that massive blaze at a North Knoxville recycling facility. Some raised concerns about health and safety and people that live nearby are clearly frustrated.

A community meeting was held for people to ask questions and share their thoughts.

Attendees raised concerns about health and safety.  The people that live nearby are clearly frustrated.

They shared their thoughts and worries with city officials.

“I have a swimming pool and when that ash gets in the air and stuff it’s going to be in my pool, so I’m just worried,” one said.

“He should be not where these people are living. That place was a horrible trash pit,” said another.

“I was admitted to the hospital for an accute asthma attack and was very seriously ill for 4 days at UT hospital,” another attendee said.

A message coming from Knoxville’s Chief Operating Officer afterward – that they’re being heard. 

“Well obviously the first thing I’m going to do is let my boss Mayor Rogero know about the frustrations. And the chief and I will do that. Chief Sharp was here and his team,” David Brace said. “I think long term how you address the land uses in any community is really important. We need industry, we need jobs that are close to people, but you also have to have industry with buffers depending on those uses, so I’ll convey that.”

     RELATED | City engineers solve oxygen problem of nearby creek after recycling center fire

Knoxville fire officials also attending Monday’s meeting. An update came from them on where things stand on site.

“The two things that we’ve told the business owner is that you do have to have the fire watch 24/7 and that no new products (are to be brought in). It’s open ended right now; it’s just until further notice,” said KFD Captain D.J. Corcoran.

The Oakwood-Lincoln Park Neighborhood Association vice president said she was happy with the turn out. 

“I think we have maybe started the ball rolling and hopefully some positive outcome will come from that,” said Michelle Ivester.

Ivester also told us she’s looking at trying to start a petition to change the zoning. 

We reached out to the city councilman who represents this area, Mark Campen.

He said: “Since we are overhauling our city zoning codes, we should strongly consider “downzoning” that property to a more acceptable Industrial or Commercial zoning since it is right up against the residential area.”

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