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Tire blaze under probe

Heavy black smoke billowing into the sky Saturday afternoon from the Cluster Springs community caught the attention of numerous residents who called E-911 dispatchers to report what they were seeing.

Around 5 p.m. South Boston Fire Department along with Cluster Springs and Turbeville Volunteer Fire Departments responded to reports of heavy smoke coming from behind the industrial park off Highway 58, but later reports Saturday afternoon confirmed the smoke was coming from property located at 3169 Bold Springs Road.

According to Emergency Services Coordinator Kirby Saunders, when firefighters arrived on the scene they found approximately 25 tires burning on property belonging to Ernest Cheek. 

Firefighters immediately extinguished the burning tires that were set on fire in violation of Department of Environmental Quality regulations, Saunders said. 

Deputies from Halifax County Sheriff’s Office and officials from the county Department of Emergency Services assisted at the scene taking a report that was sent to DEQ for a follow-up.

According to Saunders, the civil violation continues to be under investigation with Cheek being responsible for cleanup of the tire debris.

“Burning tires can create chemicals that are hazardous to the ground and groundwater,” Saunders explained.

No one was hurt during the fire that posed no hazard to surrounding neighbors.

“The residents in the area are safe, and there is no reason to be alarmed,” Saunders said.

He reminded citizens it is unlawful to burn tires, and citizens are only allowed to burn vegetative debris such as tree leaves and household garbage generated on their own property if a resident lives at least two miles away from a refuse collection center.

Those residents living in the towns of South Boston and Halifax have curbside collection, so it is unlawful for town residents to burn debris, Saunders added.