Toxic fire could have been prevented

It still smells like smoke and fire and burning plastic and metal in Maywood, more than 2 weeks after a massive overnight fire at a metal recycling facility. About 200 people are still being kept out of their homes on the street behind the fire zone, their motel bills and hazmat type cleanup of their homes being paid for by taxpayers. 

The owner of the building that exploded, Panda International, had been charged criminally for various hazardous waste storage and disposal violations, but his business was never shut down, and the ''why'' is difficult to explain. 

The states Department of Toxic Substances Control simply says the old violations were ''addressed'' but it's not clear what that means exactly.    

Perhaps we can ask the owner  in July when he's due to be in court to be arraigned on the criminal charges, but our Fox 11  stories on this place, going back more than 2 years, document a long history of potentially criminal violations yet nothing seemed to impact the operation. Well, it's gone now, no thanks to the politicians or state regulatory agencies who are responsible for protecting us.

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