BELLA VISTA, Ark. — A settlement has been reached in the case of the burning stump dump in Bella Vista that caused lots of health issues and discomfort for people living nearby.
The $6.3 million settlement was reached on Monday, July 19, listing 85 households as plaintiffs and seven individuals and businesses as defendants. Attorney Sach Oliver represents all the plaintiffs and says on behalf of his clients they are all very happy.
“The opportunity to reach a just outcome and settlement to avoid a 3-to-6-week jury trial where all of our clients would have had to take the witness stand and instead were able to reach this resolution, that’s a great thing,” he said.
The fire at the former stump dump on Trafalgar road started in July of 2018 and was put out almost a year later. Early in 2019, ADEQ said it would cost up to $36 million and nine months to put out. That’s when the Bella Vista Property Owners Association stepped in and put the fire out in less than a month for $4 million.
The trial was set to start in august before this settlement was reached. Oliver says the next step is having a third party divide up the more than $6 million settlement. He says the process will be fair and equitable and take into consideration property damage and health issues the smoke caused, so not every household will get the same amount.
“I’m hoping now that we can bring some closure for everyone, I mean everyone, the whole community, we are just thankful the fire was put out and Bella Vista is back to being the beautiful place we want it to be in Northwest Arkansas,” he said.
The Bella Vista Property Owners Association was one of the defendants listed in this case. Chief Operating Officer, Tom Judson says they contributed a million dollars to the settlement.
“We are very pleased for our property owners, for those who were negatively impacted by the fire and for the POA as a whole. We are very pleased that this chapter is now behind us, and we can keep on moving forward,” said Judson.
Some of the other defendants in the case were Brown’s Tree Care and Blue Mountain Storage. Remediation of the land is still ongoing on the site.
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