Hawkins businessman receives third TDEC fine for illegal burning

Jeff Bobo • Dec 1, 2017 at 9:00 PM

SURGOINSVILLE — Hawkins County businessman Rick Stewart was fined $2,250 Thursday by the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation for burning oil, tires and other prohibited items on his property near downtown Surgoinsville.

It was Stewart’s third TDEC fine since 2012 for illegal burning in Hawkins County.

On Aug. 2, Surgoinsville Police Department Chief James Hammonds responded to a complaint of open burning on property owned by Stewart at 1310 Main St.

Stewart owns the entire square block which includes a structure commonly referred to as the “old country stores” as well as a garage and some rental mobile homes.

Hammonds observed black smoke billowing from an open fire that included tires, plastic, used motor oil and other debris.

Hammonds described the smoke as “smothering” to the nearby residential neighborhoods.

The Surgoinsville Fire Department responded and extinguished the fire, and Hammonds contacted TDEC, which responded to the scene on Aug. 4.

According to a report released Thursday, the TDEC investigator discovered the burned remains of a plastic tarp, a painted automobile rim, various coated metal objects, eight tires and used motor oil in two burn piles.

Stewart has 30 days to appeal the $2,250 civil fine assessed by TDEC for violating a state regulation which prohibits the burning of, among other things, tires and other rubber products.

In 2015, Stewart paid a $1,500 TDEC fine for illegal open burning at 5127 Highway 11-W in Rogersville, where he operated a pawn shop and used car lot; and in 2012 he paid a $750 fine for illegal open burning at 202 Barton Road in the far western end of Carters Valley near Rogersville.                                             

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