Isle of Wight enacts new codes to prevent tire fires

Published 2:43 pm Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...


In response to a tire fire last year in Carrollton, the Isle of Wight County Board of Supervisors on Thursday adopted new provisions in its fire prevention ordinance.

The revised ordinance states that anyone storing or disposing of more than 250 used tires at any one time on a site in the county must notify the county’s fire official, so such information can be entered into the county’s emergency response database. Anyone storing or disposing of more than 1,000 used tires, other than in a fully-enclosed building or trailer, must obtain a permit.

Assistant County Administrator Don Robertson said the county’s fire official is Jeff Terwilliger, Isle of Wight’s chief of emergency services. The chief, his designee or the Isle of Wight County Sheriff’s Office may enforce the ordinance, but this authority does not extend to the county’s volunteer firefighters.

The revised ordinance further specifies that storage of more than 1,000 used tires must be done in cells covering no more than 5,000 square feet. The maximum width of an individual stockpile of tires is 50 feet, and the maximum height is 5 feet. Stockpiles are required to be at least 50 feet from each other or any structure or property line, and be within 150 feet of an emergency access lane capable of accommodating fire response apparatus. An adequate water supply at the site for fire suppression is also required.

Outside storage areas for used tires must be enclosed by a chain link fence and lockable gate unless tires are kept in a fully-enclosed trailer. Appropriate provisions must also be made for stormwater management on the site, to include runoff that may result from fire suppression efforts.

Exceptions to the permit requirement include anyone with a valid permit from the Virginia Department of Waste Management to operate a sanitary landfill, and for the temporary storage of 1,000 or more used tires, provided that storage is for less than 90 days and tires are kept in a fully-enclosed trailer. However, the ordinance allows the fire official to impose fire safety requirements in either of these scenarios, including but not limited to any of the other requirements detailed in the ordinance.

The ordinance states that violation of any of these provisions shall constitute a class 1 misdemeanor, punishable by a fine of not more than $2,500, 12 months in jail or both.

On April 12, 2017, a tire fire occurred at Carrollton Metals, a scrap yard located off of Brewer’s Neck Boulevard. According to Robertson, this necessitated a response force of 50 to 60 personnel, operating for approximately five hours. The projected tire count at the site was around 2,000.