East Tulsa, Catoosa homeowners blaming recycling company CMC for loud, destructive blasts

TULSA - Loud explosions are rattling homes and windows in east Tulsa and Catoosa -- explosions so big, residents are looking at legal action against a Green County company.

Residents complained to 2NEWS Thursday about the blasts, claiming that they're actually damaging their homes. They insisted Commercial Metals Company, a recycling plant located within a half mile of their neighborhood, is responsible, not the rock quarry four miles away.

"A bomb! It just shakes the entire house and windows," Eileen Rowley said. "It's like someone literally set a bomb off in the backyard."

Rowley said the blasts have been rocking her home on a daily basis, until the past month when CMC changed its work schedule.

"Everything from cracks in the walls to broken windows, foundation damage," Rowley described the damage to her neighbors' homes. During a tour of the home she shares with her mother and father, Rowley pointed out cracks in recently installed tile and grout in her bathroom.

"All along in through here there's cracks," she said. Outside, she said the blasts caused the top layer of bricks to fall off a small wall in front of her home. 

Rowley and her neighbors believe the scrap metal plant is processing propane tanks and gas tanks from old cars that explode when they go through the industrial shredder.

In a statement released by a company representative Thursday, CMC admitted there are "frequent energy releases that result in loud 'blasts' in the area. Some originate from CMC and some from other sources that create similar noise disturbances."

The statement went on to say the company may "inadvertently process propane tanks or other items with residual combustible materials that result in loud noise disturbances."


Eileen's mom, Katie Rowland, is more concerned about the blasts upsetting her husband, who suffers from advanced Alzheimer's.

"They're very disruptive. You spend 30 to 40 minutes explaining why and what it is," Rowland said.

The Rowland family considers their home's damage minor compared to some of the neighbors. The statement from CMC says their buildings have not suffered any damage, even though they are at the blast site.

The Rowland's disagree, and with the help of a lawyer, plan to rally their neighbors to join a class action lawsuit. Eileen Rowland hopes to stop the blasts and ensure they and their neighbors are compensated for the damage done to their homes.

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