Neighbor buys liens on IEI fire site

The aftermath of the IEI Plastics fire is shown. Last week, neighboring property owner Broadway Industries purchased the tax liens on the property at a sheriff’s auction. (File Photo)

PARKERSBURG — A neighboring property owner has purchased the tax liens on the site of the October 2017 IEI fire.

The liens, totaling $19,349.77, were bought Thursday at a Wood County Sheriff’s tax auction by Broadway Industries, Wood County Clerk Mark Rhodes said.

The company purchased liens on two parcels, one for the value of the delinquent 2017 and current year taxes of $18,083.57, and the other for $2,500, though the taxes owed total $1,266.20.

The parcels are owned by Surnaik Holdings of WV LLC and were the site of the former Ames plant on Camden Avenue just outside Parkersburg city limits. The plant had been converted to the Intercontinental Export and Import Plastics warehouse, which burned to the ground in a massive fire that started Oct. 21, 2017, and was not fully extinguished for a week.

According to Rhodes, if Surnaik doesn’t pay the back tax amount to Broadway within 18 months, Broadway could apply for a tax deed to acquire the property. But Broadway Industries CEO R.C. “Heck” Heckert said that isn’t his goal.

The purchase is “directly related to the cleanup of the property,” he said.

The Naik group of companies that includes Surnaik Holdings and IEI has been working to clean the property since the blaze. Nearly 16,000 tons of solid waste has been removed from the site, but Heckert noted the damage wasn’t limited solely to the IEI property. Debris fell on the Broadway Industrial Park, where Heckert has multiple businesses.

Heckert said purchasing the liens is part of an effort to ensure his property isn’t left out of the cleanup process.

“This is only a matter of just getting the cleanup finished,” he said.

A call seeking comment from Michael Hissam, an attorney representing the Naiks, was not immediately returned Monday.

The investigation into the fire remains open, with no cause determined.