Problems with smoke from neighbor's burn pit

Streblerm

Addicted to ArboristSite
Joined
Mar 19, 2007
Messages
2,083
Reaction score
1,130
Location
Akron, OH
I don't know if this is totally appropriate for the forum and if not and it needs to be moved or closed then that's fine. I spend a fair amount of time on this forum and I need to vent on this a little. I run a small auto repair shop and I am thankful that I can leave this problem at work. Apparently I have started a pissing match with our new neighbors. As a person who strives to live the golden rule it pains me deeply to participate in this ridiculous situation.

It would be funny if it wasn't happening to me so I thought I would share the exactly 4 interactions I have had with my neighbors. For your entertainment, in four installments, here is the statement I am preparing for the next time the police are called out. Unfortunately I'm pretty sure there will be a next time.



On or about February 8th 2016 I noticed smoke and a burning rubber odor upon entering the property outside and inside the building. I feared that something in the building or possibly the roof might be on fire. I determined the smoke was coming from the west side of the building where we share a close, adjacent property line. I entered the driveway. I knocked on the door and a middle aged woman answered. I introduced myself and explained that I smelled acrid smoke inside and outside our building next door. I noticed they had a smoldering fire less than 25 feet from our building. I explained that we are a body shop and that we pull fresh air from outside to ventilate the building and exhaust it through expensive filters according to EPA and OSHA regulations. Furthermore when I smelled smoke while painting a car in our paint booth I shut it down immediately for fear of a fire in the ventilation system. I requested that she ceased burning anywhere near our building especially during business hours.

Her immediate reaction was surprising and hostile. She told me to “get my fat ass off her property or she would call the cops” furthermore that she would do whatever she pleased on her property and there was nothing I could do about it. She then accused me of throwing trash on her property which is completely untrue. I explained that I was going to walk along the property line to make sure there was no damage to our building and that I intended to extinguish the fire. I found evidence of partially burnt tires as well as bottles and cans. Shortly after this a slightly younger man came out. I again introduced myself. I apologized for getting off on the wrong foot with the woman and explained my concerns. He seemed to understand what I was saying. He helped me to extinguish the fire and we left on what I felt to be a positive note.
 

Streblerm

Addicted to ArboristSite
Joined
Mar 19, 2007
Messages
2,083
Reaction score
1,130
Location
Akron, OH
Wait, there's more. It gets better. There are pictures and video. I should have taken pictures of the tire fire but I assume that a reasonable request will be honored. I also explained to them at the time that the fire station was 1000' west in clear view and the sheriff's maintenance garage/gas station was 1000' to the east. Furthermore, I was absolutely in no way threatening to turn them in but that they should keep their fires clean and away from my building.
 

Streblerm

Addicted to ArboristSite
Joined
Mar 19, 2007
Messages
2,083
Reaction score
1,130
Location
Akron, OH
Here's a picture of the fire pit long after the great tire fire and here is some of the trash we supposedly threw over the 8' fence. If you're observant there is a toilet, stove, and water heater there. There are also tires. She made the assumption, and I can see how, that we threw the tires on her property. The reality is that about 25 years ago they bulldozed a garage, full of junk, into the ravine and buried it under some fill. I was there when it happened.

fire pit.jpg trash.jpg
 

Streblerm

Addicted to ArboristSite
Joined
Mar 19, 2007
Messages
2,083
Reaction score
1,130
Location
Akron, OH
On March 23rd 2016 at approximately 2:00pm I noticed a strong smoke odor in the paint booth. I immediately shut the booth off and checked the air intake. While standing behind my side of the fence on the property line I saw the woman from before burning trash, paper, and brush. She seemed intoxicated and was holding a large beer. Two young children were present. She told me to to “get my fat ****ing hillbilly ass off her property if she ever saw me near her property she was going to shoot my fat ass with a paintball gun just to watch me run” She claimed that where I was standing was actually her property and that she was sick of us throwing trash on her property and that we needed to move our fence. I did not respond but went inside and called the Sheriff. An officer responded and I explained what was going on. I told him that I did not want to make problems for anyone or file any kind of charges. I just want them to stop burning near my building. I also explained that we have never thrown trash on the property. The junk is the result of a garage and all its contents being bulldozed into the ravine 25 years ago without a permit. It was buried under a little bit of fill and has gradually been surfacing over the years. No report was filed and I did not get the name of the officer.
 

Joesell

ArboristSite Guru
Joined
Jan 28, 2011
Messages
624
Reaction score
536
Location
Milw, WI
I'm not one to ever involve the police on purpose. Having said that, I've had the police involved with me a few times over the years. In my experience, they always seemed very professional. They come, take their opinion of the facts and do they're job to the best of their ability.

I always try to work differences out with people, but sometimes people can't be worked with. This woman seems to be one of those people. On top of that, I'm sure she's breaking some law.

Going against all of my instincts, I would say that your best bet is to get the police involved every time you have to deal with her. I think you'll find its your best bet to cover yourself from false accusations. You might even go 1 step further and install a camera on that side of the building. At the very least, it'll help your insurance company when she gets drunk and burns your building down.
 

Streblerm

Addicted to ArboristSite
Joined
Mar 19, 2007
Messages
2,083
Reaction score
1,130
Location
Akron, OH
I'm not one to ever involve the police on purpose. Having said that, I've had the police involved with me a few times over the years. In my experience, they always seemed very professional. They come, take their opinion of the facts and do they're job to the best of their ability.

I always try to work differences out with people, but sometimes people can't be worked with. This woman seems to be one of those people. On top of that, I'm sure she's breaking some law.

Going against all of my instincts, I would say that your best bet is to get the police involved every time you have to deal with her. I think you'll find its your best bet to cover yourself from false accusations. You might even go 1 step further and install a camera on that side of the building. At the very least, it'll help your insurance company when she gets drunk and burns your building down.

This is my thought exactly. I don't give any blame to the officer in this situation. They generally don't get involved with stuff like this. I believe they did it as a courtesy and a favor. We have a relationship with the Sheriff's Department. No influence, but we know them and work on their cars. I am not antagonizing the situation, but any involvement I have with them in the future will either involve the police or a witness and video. I am not looking to cause them any problems. They could crank their music 24/7. They could have a meth lab or a whore house. Shoot, they could be terrorists. As long as they don't burn their trash beside my building everything else is between them and law enforcement.
 

Streblerm

Addicted to ArboristSite
Joined
Mar 19, 2007
Messages
2,083
Reaction score
1,130
Location
Akron, OH
On April 18th 2016 at approximately 6:00pm while trying to finish a job for the day I noticed a thick smoke in the paint booth. I checked the air intake and noticed a pile of burning brush that had recently been cut from our disputed boundary burning in the same spot as before. I did not interact with the neighbor at this time but called the sheriff again. The dispatcher referred me to the fire department who did come out some time later. I did not want to be involved but I did not leave my building in case the fire department needed to talk with me. I stayed with the door open and the lights on. At approximately 8pm a customer saw the door open and stopped by. I explained that we were closed for the night but he could come by tomorrow. As he was pulling out, the woman neighbor ran up to his car. I assume she mistook him for me. She began yelling “You started this **** you hilbilly peckerwood, I will end it. You ****ed with the wrong [person]. I will show you what kind of [person] I am. You will be sorry. I will end it. ****ed with the wrong [person]...” The prospective customer sped away. At this point the neighbor saw me at the door. She continued yelling the same profanity at me as she returned to her house. I debated calling the sheriff again but decided it was best not to antagonize the situation any further. I waited for some time to make sure I was safe. Double checked that the building and all cars were locked, and I left.
 

Streblerm

Addicted to ArboristSite
Joined
Mar 19, 2007
Messages
2,083
Reaction score
1,130
Location
Akron, OH
I wish I had the presence of mind to record that interaction. I was lost somewhere between fear, disbelief and laughter. I found out later that they were cited for open burning. There is none in Ohio unless you have a permit or you are burning "ranked seasoned firewood"
 

farmer steve

outstanding in my field, 5150
Joined
Feb 8, 2013
Messages
20,392
Reaction score
153,776
Location
Stihl, PA
On April 18th 2016 at approximately 6:00pm while trying to finish a job for the day I noticed a thick smoke in the paint booth. I checked the air intake and noticed a pile of burning brush that had recently been cut from our disputed boundary burning in the same spot as before. I did not interact with the neighbor at this time but called the sheriff again. The dispatcher referred me to the fire department who did come out some time later. I did not want to be involved but I did not leave my building in case the fire department needed to talk with me. I stayed with the door open and the lights on. At approximately 8pm a customer saw the door open and stopped by. I explained that we were closed for the night but he could come by tomorrow. As he was pulling out, the woman neighbor ran up to his car. I assume she mistook him for me. She began yelling “You started this **** you hilbilly peckerwood, I will end it. You ****ed with the wrong [person]. I will show you what kind of [person] I am. You will be sorry. I will end it. ****ed with the wrong [person]...” The prospective customer sped away. At this point the neighbor saw me at the door. She continued yelling the same profanity at me as she returned to her house. I debated calling the sheriff again but decided it was best not to antagonize the situation any further. I waited for some time to make sure I was safe. Double checked that the building and all cars were locked, and I left.
make sure you have no trespassing signs up and if she comes over again take a picture of her and call the cops. she's a definite wack job.
 

Streblerm

Addicted to ArboristSite
Joined
Mar 19, 2007
Messages
2,083
Reaction score
1,130
Location
Akron, OH
I really struggled over calling the FD. I feel a bit guilty involving them in my neighbor problem. I think there is some real threat, other than just being unpleasant, of an ember getting sucked into a couple 15hp fans.

As far as involving the EPA or some other organization, i really hate to. Sometimes people in those organizations like to hassle small shops. I have nothing to hide but don't want to have to prove it. Getting those organizations involved could backfire on me in terms of causing more work. I hope the neighbors aren't smart enough to figure that out.

We follow the letter of the law with EPA, OSHA, ARAQMD, etc. I have all my ducks in a row as far as purchase records, use records. and disposal records. We use low VOC products even though we don't have to. We have have dumpster service that is rarely full. We recycle all paper, cardboard and plastic and any car part goes to the scrapyard for recycling (and we get paid for it).

Also, Despite the asshats that they are I am not looking to punish them. I wish they would understand that.
 
Joined
Jul 29, 2006
Messages
25,429
Reaction score
15,015
Location
iowa
I really struggled over calling the FD. I feel a bit guilty involving them in my neighbor problem. I think there is some real threat, other than just being unpleasant, of an ember getting sucked into a couple 15hp fans.

As far as involving the EPA or some other organization, i really hate to. Sometimes people in those organizations like to hassle small shops. I have nothing to hide but don't want to have to prove it. Getting those organizations involved could backfire on me in terms of causing more work. I hope the neighbors aren't smart enough to figure that out.

We follow the letter of the law with EPA, OSHA, ARAQMD, etc. I have all my ducks in a row as far as purchase records, use records. and disposal records. We use low VOC products even though we don't have to. We have have dumpster service that is rarely full. We recycle all paper, cardboard and plastic and any car part goes to the scrapyard for recycling (and we get paid for it).

Also, Despite the asshats that they are I am not looking to punish them. I wish they would understand that.
their not going to,,and they have already proved it.. and from what you said,,the old man is pw...you do what you want,,but id burn that hateful female...shes do a good lesson in humility...seeing her hauled off to jail,,id laugh as she was driven away....probably has gotten her snide way all her life...as one said,,shes a wack job..and I wouldn't put it past her,,to burn your bldg. to the ground.....to bad you don't have a lot of vids,,and the accompanying sound........just her loud mouth,,would land her in the pokey,,for threatening you.....
 

sb47

Addicted to ArboristSite
Joined
Jun 15, 2011
Messages
6,615
Reaction score
11,313
Location
Texas
Well it's Saturday night so I must confess. I have a healthy Bzzzzzzzzzzzzz going on, so forgive the typos.
I know I have one monitor, but ia seeing at least two.
Long story short, I had a neighbor that call ed the EPA on me for fire pit fires I had out in the yard. If the EPA gets a complaint, they have to investigate. I was BBQing and The EPA showed up a 3 in the morning to investigate. Out of about 40 calls on me. Not one fine and they all told me I was legal. I only burn wood, no toxic plastic or stuff like that.

There is way more but when the EPA investigated me. I pointed out his burn pile that was full of PCV pipe, tires and other no,no's.
The EPA guy told me he's going over there and right him up.
He was there for an hour.
Amazingly I never got another call from him.

Karma. She may take her time, but she works.
 

Latest posts

Top