On Saturday, Carl was setting up to enjoy a bonfire with several friends on Fiesta Island when he noticed a roofing company from the Midway Drive area unloading “their scraps” next to his wood pile at their bonfire.
“Most of it was painted wood and OSB,” Carl told me. “OSB is full of glue, it's almost like particle board, some call it chip board…when I saw what it was, I made them load it back in their van and GTFO.”
Fire pit rules are clear in San Diego, as are laws regarding illegal dumping, so I reached out to the company for comment.
I spoke with owner Mitch, who told me yes, he was on Fiesta Island Saturday to visit friends, but denied it was to dump materials even though he told the guys that’s why he was there.
‘Yeah that was me, I went to visit a friend who was there. Somebody in a nearby motorhome flagged me down and asked if he could have it (wood), I had lots of 2x4s. They said they didn’t have any wood, usually I don’t do this — his friend was taking what he wanted out of my van — I let him do that for about two minutes, then one of the guys said ‘we don’t want this, it has paint on it,’ then he got real picky about the particle board and began throwing in back in the van. That was it…. I was there to visit a friend,” he said. “After that I went to the dump, and even had some left over.”
I asked him if he was aware of illegal dumping laws and possible toxic exposure from burning OSB? He did not answer. He insisted that he made a ‘dump run’ Saturday after work, but when I pressed for the time of the run or if he had a receipt to verify, he said: "I don’t answer to you, is it a slow news day? Have SDPD call me if it’s such a big deal,” and hung up the phone after threatening a lawsuit.
In a follow-up conversation with Carl, he explained the interaction further. “No one in our group flagged him down.”
“The guy rolled up and started dumping materials,” said Bill, one of Carl’s friends who witnessed the incident. “I went up to him and said, hey, what are you doing? He responded ‘We come here often, we know college kids do bonfires here and always need it.'”
“I watched them (roofers) carry more out of their van — piling and piling it on our wood.” interjected Carl. “I stepped in and got an attitude and said we don't want this shit, it's full of glue and paint; you can't burn this, so I started tossing it out of our woodpile. I said if you have any regular wood we'll take that… I know the dump will charge like $140 for it, but get your crap out of here. During this exchange they [roofers] began loading it back up into their van… maybe they didn't know any better, but I hope they reconsider in the future,” Carl continued, “I live in Ocean Beach and it pains me to see how many people abuse our beaches, whether it’s littering cigarette butts or glass bottles or burning toxic garbage."