Stump dump again lands owner in court


Attorneys for Baltimore County again asked a Circuit Court judge yesterday to shut down a smoldering stump dump near Granite and to fine its operator because he allegedly has failed to meet fire safety conditions specified in a May 30 court order.

James F. Jett has built piles of debris approximately 30 feet high, has failed to keep a 100-foot buffer between the new pile and the smoldering stumps and has not removed debris a judge ordered him to remove, according to a motion filed yesterday in Baltimore County Circuit Court by county attorney H. Emslie Parks.

Mr. Jett's stump dump and tree farm in the 8700 block of Dogwood Road in western Baltimore County has been burning since Feb. 2, when a fire was discovered in the mountain of wood, dirt and stumps trucked to the site each day.

Mr. Park's motion asks that Mr. Jett be found in contempt of court because he allegedly failed to meet fire safety conditions specified in an order issued last month by Baltimore County Circuit Judge James T. Smith Jr.

Judge Smith ordered Mr. Jett on May 30 to limit the height of any new stump piles to 12 feet, to keep a 100-foot buffer between new stumps and the burning material, and to dispose of debris that wasn't burning by June 2.

Mr. Park's request is accompanied by a series of aerial and on-site photographs, showing mounds of debris allegedly blocking fire access roads and piles of stumps that allegedly lie within 100 feet of the smoldering stumps.

"The new pile of debris, its size and its proximity to the adjacent woods constitutes a real and immediate danger of fire, either spreading from the presently burning area or started by lightning or other cause," Mr. Parks wrote in his three-page request.

Michael P. Tanczyn, Mr. Jett's lawyer, declined to comment last night, saying he had not yet discussed the motion with his client.

Mr. Parks said last night that he hoped a court hearing would be scheduled by the end of the week.

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