Duarte fans the political flames after Vulcan Materials fire


Duarte officials are trying to throw some coals on a fire at a Vulcan Materials Co. facility last week.

I can’t say I am surprised. When has an opportunity ever been lost in politics?

More to the point, after a fire broke out at a plant run by Vulcan last week, Duarte jumped at the opportunity for some bad press for the company.

On Duarte’s city website, the city issued a press release regarding the incident entitled “Fire erupts at Vulcan Materials plant.”

Duarte immediately notified AQMD of the fire, according to the release. The release goes on to discuss air quality briefly before tacking on a picture.

Did the fire warrant a reaction from Duarte? Duarte residents would resoundingly say yes, while Vulcan officials and mining plan proponents would probably argue this was politically motivated.

I understand the excitement about the incident. When I first heard there was a fire at Vulcan, I immediately realized the implications and the possibilities arising from any incident at one of the company’s plants.

The company is the middle of a political battle in Azusa where they are trying to get a development agreement passed for a new mining plan amendment for the Azusa Rock Quarry. A referendum election is scheduled for Jan. 25.

Duarte has opposed the mining plan and is challenging it in court.

If this had been a serious fire, there would have been political implications and opponents of the plan would be armed with additional ammunition.

But, alas, it was not to be. The fire was small, the affect minimal, and it went relatively unnoticed to most people.

But Duarte posted a story on its home page in somewhat of an alarming fashion. Should the city have informed its residents? Yes. I mean, we wrote about it. It would be kind of hypocritical to say no.

But does it smell of political motivations? (besides the burning rubber smell) Of course, which somewhat taints the action all together.

Fires happen in cities, often times at businesses, and without the help of the fire department or local residents, we may never know about them. Cities aren’t often in the business of writing press releases when a roofer starts a small tar fire or a restaurant has a minor kitchen fire.

When Duarte decides to write a story on this subject, one assumes it is with a purpose beyond reporting the news.

It’s to provide a spark.

Email: daniel.tedford@sgvn.com | Twitter: @dgtedford @sgvtribune | Facebook: SGVTribune