SPRINGFIELD – The Office of the Illinois State Fire Marshal (OSFM) announced today that a Cook County Circuit Court Judge imposed a record $386,000 default judgment order against Redevelopment Enterprises, Incorporated which owns a closed gas station in Chicago Heights, Illinois. The company ignored an administrative order issued by the State Fire Marshal in 2011 to remove three 37-year old underground petroleum storage tanks from the property, according to court records. The tanks posed a risk to public safety due to the potential for explosion and environmental contamination to soil and water.
The property, a Marathon gasoline station closed since 2008, is located at 201 East Lincoln Highway, Chicago Heights, Illinois. The Cook County case (No. 12 CH 21325) was presided over by Circuit Court Judge Kathleen Kennedy who imposed the penalty and ordered that the tanks be removed after conducting a hearing on December 20, 2012.
“This case sends a message to gasoline station owners and other petroleum storage tank proprietors who ignore state regulations and orders,” said Larry Matkaitis, State Fire Marshal. “Our priority is to ensure public safety in communities where underground storage tanks may represent a risk.”
Proceeds from the judgment will be entered into the Illinois Underground Storage Tank Fund where they will be used to support additional underground storage tank enforcement efforts throughout the State of Illinois. The funds will also be allocated to support the Illinois Environment Protection Agency’s corrective action program which is responsible for cleaning contaminated sites located within the state.
The State Fire Marshal’s Office was represented by Assistant Attorney General Kristyna Bednarczyk of the Illinois Attorney General’s Office, and Thomas Andryk of the State Fire Marshal’s Office.