Out of fire, smoke, and ash there's hope

By Layron Livingston - bio | email
Posted by Ellen Krafve - email

HAWKINS, TX (KLTV) - The smoke is gone but there's another fire still burning. Hawkins City officials say they've been working for months to get all those tires removed from that abandoned piece of property.

Out of fire, smoke, and ash there's a little hope.

"I hope it gets cleaned up," said Neil Decker.

Decker lives just outside of Hawkins. He said that last year, he got fed up.

"We just went to work trying to figure out how we can clean up the problem," said Decker.

Neil says he talked to city officials, state officials and even spoke with a tire recycling company about the property.

"He would come in, scrap the tires out, haul them off...for about $348,000," said Decker.

But according to state officials, that's not nearly enough. City of Hawkins mayor Sam Bradley said the issue is only getting worse.

"If I may use the word, tremendous," said Bradley.

He said all those tires will cost more than $1,000,000 to clear out - 1.2 million to be exact. Mayor Bradley said when the land was abandoned, the city began it's efforts. He said several companies from Texas and Louisiana placed bids on the clean-up. The city also started working with State Representative Bryan Hughes about the problem.

"It's very unusual...but in a situation like this, that effects a lot of people," said Hughes. "We think it's appropriate for the state to come in and help."

Hughes says the 1.2 million has been awaiting final approval from both sides of the state legislature. He says the fire will not change that.

"If we're able to track down the owner and they have the assets that they be held liable for this and the tax payers get their money back," said Hughes. "It's just important to me that the folks in Hawkins aren't left holding the bag."

Representative Hughes is confident. In Hawkins, they're hopeful.

"Just wish it hadn't happened," said Bradley.

"It's gonna have to be cleaned up," said Decker.

Preferably sooner, rather than later.

Representative Hughes said the money will come from the state's general revenue fund. He says the money is slated in the state's budget which he expects to be voted on in the next few days.

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