A Baltimore County Circuit judge found James Jett, operator of a Granite stump dump, which has been burning since February, in contempt of a May 30 court order and ordered him to immediately close the dump.
Yesterday, Judge James T. Smith Jr. ordered Jett to refuse new loads of debris until he grinds up old stumps on the eastern half of the dump and excavates the area down to "ground zero" to remove any remaining fire hazard.
The judge also criticized the county government, saying that different agencies sent Jett mixed and confusing messages in trying to regulate the burning mound of tree stumps at the dump in the 8700 block of Dogwood Road in the western part of the county.
Smith said his order yesterday would remove the danger of igniting new fires at the huge dump.
On May 30, Smith ordered that Jett limit to 10 feet the height of any new stump piles, maintain a 100-foot buffer between new piles and burning ones, grind to mulch and remove a pile considered to be a fire hazard and accept no more than 40 deliveries a day of new debris.
The county, in showing that Jett was in contempt of the order, said an inspector found during visits in June and July that Jett was covering debris with dirt.
The fire, which began Feb. 2, is still burning on the portion of the dump nearest to Wright's Mill Road.
County fire officials today planned to pour water in spots where smoke is visible, in hopes of eventually killing the entire underground blaze.
After the hearing, Jett refused comment, but his attorney, Michael P. Tanczyn, said he was satisfied.
Tanczyn said Jett's problem is whether he can afford the cost of complying with the judge's order without the income generated by accepting new loads of debris.
County attorney Lee Parks said he also was satisfied. "The judge did exactly what we asked him to do," Parks said.
Roz Roddy, a resident of the area who attended the day-long hearing, said she, too, was pleased.
"At least the county's won one," Roddy said.