PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The owner of the scrap yard that went up in flames in Kensington believes he knows how the fire started as the company has been cited for numerous violations. BJM Holdings has several violations, including a not labeling materials correctly and excessively storing tires.
In a notice sent to BJM Holdings about the violations, an official with Philadelphia’s License and Inspections Office wrote: “the storage of combustible material at this location exceeds fire code limitations.”
Fire investigators are still trying to find what sparked the blaze. But a spokesperson with Mayor Jim Kenney’s office says, at this time, it does not look like any of the violations are directly related to the cause of the fire.
Still, the city says it is “exceedingly concerned” with the excessive storage of tires, which “if there was a fire, could lead to a more intense and substantial conflagration,” said Deana Gamble, Philly’s communications director.
The city filed a suit in February to compel the junkyard to follow its rules and regulations.
David Feinberg, the owner of BJM Holdings as well as Philadelphia Metal and Resource Recovery, which is the scrap yard company, told CBS3 that he believes heroin addicts set a fire in the backyard.
“Our security guard heard voices on the other sides of the gate before the fire started,” he said. “It’s a very common occurrence for the homeless to jump the fence and we have to chase them out.”
Feinberg said homeless have tried to steal scrap metal in the past.
Regarding the violations, Feinberg says he’s working to fix all the violations. He’s also removing most of the tires.
Firefighters responded to the blaze around 8:30 p.m. as huge flames and smoke engulfed the building.
Some homes did lose power, but it has since been restored.
“I couldn’t sleep hardly last night. Kept waking up, putting water in my face. No air conditioning, no fan, no electric, it was rough last night,” said Larry Dacon.
Officials say one firefighter was taken to Temple University Hospital to be treated for injuries from a fall. There’s no word yet on the cause of the fire.