The junkyard in Kensington that was the site of a spectacular four-alarm fire two weeks ago has reopened for business and begun accepting new materials, its owner said.
The junkyard, which has been cited multiple times for violations by the Department of Licenses and Inspections in the last 10 years, opened last week and was operating at 50 percent capacity as of Monday, said owner David Feinberg.
Despite numerous violations, a pending Common Pleas Court case prevents the city from closing the facility at Somerset and Tulip Streets, said L&I spokesperson Karen Guss.
"It is disturbing but not illegal for Philadelphia Metal to be accepting new materials," she said.
The July 10 blaze, which created billows of dark smoke that could be seen for miles, gave off the stench of burning chemicals. It also fouled the air, according to the Clean Air Council.
"The fire looked a lot worse than it really was," Feinberg said, adding that Philadelphia firefighters "did a terrific job."
Jamie Moffett, who lives in the neighborhood, said he was stunned that the business, run by Philadelphia Metal & Resource Recovery, was able to operate again.
"It's like nothing ever happened," he said. "It's unreasonable to allow that to happen."
The violations over the last decade include "mislabeled storage containers" and "excessive collection of tires," according to public records.
Two hearings have been held since the city filed the action in Common Pleas Court in February, and a third hearing is scheduled for Aug. 30.
The city is concerned about the further deterioration of the junkyard as a result of the fire and the thousands of gallons of water used to extinguish it, Guss said. It is looking at what additional enforcement measures can and should be taken against the continuously code-violating business, she said.
"It's pretty troubling and brings into question how the city deals with these things," said Russell Zerbo of the Clean Air Council, who attended the May hearing.
Philadelphia Metal & Resource Recovery hasn't been the only problematic junkyard in Philly, according to Zerbo. He said that the city needs junkyards but that some of them present hazards.