— By CHRISTIN COYNE
Accused of dumping the burned debris of his million-dollar home in a large pit on his property, a Cresson-area man was arrested Wednesday on an illegal dumping charge five months after the home burned.
The homeowner claims he did nothing wrong in moving the debris and he was put in the situation because his insurance company hasn’t taken care of the issue.
The Parker County Fire Marshal’s office and Texas Commission on Environmental Quality responded Monday to 48-year-old Randy Scott Carter’s property in the 100 block of West Hidden Meadows Court in response to complaints alleging illegal dumping.
Assistant Fire Marshal Frank Watson said they found that Carter was placing the burned remnants of the house in a large pit, approximately 50 feet by 20 feet and 5 feet deep, with heavy equipment.
The pit, located about 500 yards west of the house, was partially covered in dirt and the location was not a solid waste disposal site registered with TCEQ, according to Watson.
Though the burned house could have become a public nuisance, the proper way to handle the situation would have been to haul the waste to a registered landfill, Watson said.
Carter was arrested on a warrant for the state jail felony charge.
Michael Anderson, attorney representing Carter, said Carter did nothing wrong and was placing the debris in the pit to get it out of sight.
After the Jan. 4 fire that destroyed the house and two vehicles, Carter’s insurance company has dragged its heels and not provided the coverage Carter paid for or addressed the cleanup issue, Anderson said.
“We’ve given them all the information they required and they haven’t accepted or rejected it,” Anderson said. “They’ve put my client in this limbo.”
Anderson said he is not sure if the insurance company’s investigation is ongoing.
Within the past month, authorities have told Carter to get rid of the debris and Carter repeatedly asked the insurance company to address the matter, Anderson said.
Anderson said they intend to hold the company responsible for the humiliation and embarrassment and arrest.
The cause of the fire that destroyed the 5,600-square-foot house, listed at the time for sale for $1.5 million, remains unknown and the investigation is ongoing, according to the fire marshal’s office.
Carter, who reportedly has a history of heart attacks, claims he blacked out and struck the house with a skid-steer loader and lab results show he was having a heart attack and seizure.
A neighbor who saw the fire reportedly pulled Carter to safety and he was transported to the hospital.
A venting propane line reportedly contributed to the spread of the fire, which leveled the two-story, rock home.