Judge permanently shuts stump dump Owner not allowed to accept refuse

Saying a burning stump dump in Granite is a continuing health hazard, a Baltimore County Circuit Court judge issued a permanent injunction against the dump's owner, James F. Jett, yesterday.

Judge James T. Smith Jr. issued the injunction after a one-day hearing in Towson. He said Mr. Jett cannot accept any more debris there until the site has been cleared "to virgin soil, to ground zero."


The ruling was not much different from one the judge issued last Aug. 1, except this one means the county doesn't have to come back into court, said H. Emslie Parks, county attorney.

"This situation is a very hazardous situation," Judge Smith said of the long-burning fire.


Mr. Jett's stump dump, a huge pile of debris that took 12 years to amass, began burning Feb. 1, 1991, and has continued ever since. The fire, which burns underground, chokes the sky with smoke some days, but other days emits hardly any smoke at all, according to fire officials and nearby residents.

The county spent $140,000 last year on futile efforts to put out the fire. Residents still complain about the odor.

Yesterday Mr. Jett testified that he had been unable to do anything with the site because he doesn't have the money.

He said efforts to secure financing were foiled when County Executive Roger B. Hayden last September announced plans to buy the property. Thus far, Mr. Jett said, the county has made no offer.

Meanwhile, Baltimore County Fire Chief Elwood H. Bannister said yesterday the county was proceeding with plans to have the huge pile of stumps excavated and burned up.

Under the plan, a private contractor would excavate the pile and the county Fire Department would supervise the burning of the stumps, tree branches and other debris. That would be less costly than chipping the stumps and hauling them away, the chief said.

The county hopes to invite bids by April 11, open them by mid-May and start work by the beginning of June, the chief said.