BELLA VISTA, Ark. (AP) — A $6.3 million settlement has been reached in a lawsuit that claimed smoke from an underground fire at a dumping site in northwest Arkansas harmed nearby residents.
An attorney in the case confirmed the settlement, which involves 85 households with 150 people, the Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported Wednesday. A jury trial had been set to begin in the case next month in Benton County Circuit Court.
An underground fire burned at the dump site in Bella Vista, located 164 miles (263.93 kilometers) northwest of Little Rock, for month before the Bella Vista Property Owners Association hired firms to put it out. City firefighters discovered the fire in late July 2018.
The association operated the dump from 2003 to 2016 on land leased from Blue Mountain Storage. By the time the fire was found burning underground, Brown’s Tree Service had purchased the land.
The fire was put out in June 2019.
The lawsuit had sought compensation for the harm residents said they suffered from the smoke and noxious fumes.
Attorney Sach Oliver told the newspaper that the association is paying $4.8 million of the settlement, with Brown’s Tree Service paying $1 million and Blue Mountain Storage settling for $500,000. A third party will be hired to oversee the division of the settlement.