ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – Art Martinez was taking a walk with his dog, enjoying the beautiful spring day when something ugly caught his eye.
“What the heck’s going on here?” Martinez said when he saw it.
His neighbor had been stockpiling used, torn-up tires. He was stacking them under the carport.
“It’s a hazard. It’s something that should (have) never happened,” Martinez said.
There weren’t just a few tires. There were probably close to 150 of them at the home in the Heights near Wyoming and Menaul. The tires even spilled over into the neighbor’s driveway.
“Maybe the backyard is full too,” Martinez said.
Martinez and his wife Luisa are worried that the tire hoarding is a hazard. One small flame or ember could ignite the whole pile, putting the whole block at risk.
“When a tire goes on fire, it’s hard to put out… and the smoke and the fumes that generate,” Art Martinez said.
But beyond the safety hazard, it’s a huge eye-sore that no one wants in their neighborhood.
“I don’t even look when I go by… look at the other side,” Luisa Martinez said.
Renter Edward Martinez left this mess when he abruptly moved out in February. When KRQE News 13 called him, he hung up the phone.
The homeowner told KRQE News 13 she had been trying to get Martinez to clean up the mess for more than a month before he moved out.
“They said that they were selling them and they were going to take them away and then they just disappeared,” she said.
But because Cox owns the home, she is ultimately responsible. She said she doesn’t have the money to haul away the tires and she never collected a deposit from the renter to use for their removal.
“I told them to get them out and he said that he would and he just disappeared,” Cox said.
A spokeswoman for the city of Albuquerque said a zoning inspector checked out the tires in the carport and said because the tires sit under the carport, it’s considered part of the inside the house. The city said, that means there is not a zoning, housing or litter violation. And the Albuquerque Fire Department spokeswoman said their agency doesn’t regulate residential properties.
The renter told Cox and neighbors that the local tire stores paid him $4 a tire to haul them away from their shops for disposal. If that’s true, he collected about $600 for the tire stash. Clearly he didn’t dispose the tires where he was suppose to.
Since KRQE News 13 contacted the homeowner, some of the tires have disappeared, others have been moved to the backyard. The new renter has told Cox that he is willing to put out four tires a week on the curb for the city to pick up as part of the large item collection.
AFD said the Albuquerque Area Firefighters Random Acts organization would help pay for removal of the tires, it just needed a quote from a company about how much it would cost to haul away the tires. KRQE News 13 left several messages seeking that information from Cox. She would not call back.
Most of the tires still remain under the carport.
“It puts a smear on the neighborhood,” Art Martinez said.