El Paso County Attorney José R. Rodríguez announced today the sentencing of a Fabens resident who pleaded guilty of violating the Clean Air Act, on a piece of property in the Fabens in far east El Paso County.
31-year-old Leobardo González was ordered to pay a $2,500 fine and court costs after pleading guilty to one count of illegal outdoor burning before Judge Alma Trejo of the County Criminal Court at Law Number One (the Environmental Court).
The offense occurred on or about September 5, 2007, when Mr. González was burning several roofing tar tiles, metal furniture, plastics, and household trash in the back yard of his property located at 1011 Wingo Reserve Rd., in Fabens, El Paso County.
The defendant accidentally set himself on fire while pouring gasoline on the waste and lighting it. He suffered severe burns to various parts of his body and was transported to Thomason Hospital for treatment of his injuries. The Fabens volunteer Fire Dept. had to respond to extinguish the fire.
"Burning waste, roofing tar tiles, is dangerous and bad for the environment because it sends toxic fumes into the air we breathe, and water used to extinguish the fire and the toxic chemicals in the tar could potentially harm our drinking water. The proper method of disposal should be to take your waste to the landfill. Additionally, the fire may get out of control and burn the person setting the fire and/or surrounding homes and property," said Rodríguez.
Rodríguez added that illegal outdoor burning is an on-going problem in the county of El Paso, and he stressed that the County Attorney's Office will continue to prosecute such offenders. The penalty for illegal outdoor burning ranges from a fine of not less than $1000 to up to $50,000 for an individual, or up to 180 days in jail, or both. For an association or corporation, the fine cannot be less than $1,000 or more than $100,000.
To report illegal outdoor burning or other environmental crime, call your local law enforcement agency. The Environmental Hotline at 1-888-6EL-PASO, El Paso Police Dept. at 832-4400, or El Paso Sheriff's Dept. at 546-2280.
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Fabens Illegal Burning Press Release.pdf