KNOXVILLE, Tennessee — The owners of a North Knoxville recycling center that burned last month in a multi-day blaze are seeking a demolition permit and plan to remove recycling material still stored in more than 60 trailers, city records show.

Jason Bales, who owns Fort Loudon Waste and Recycling with brother Eddie Bales, has filed for the permit, according to the city. It hasn't been issued yet, according to the city's Building Permits & Inspections Department.

The center at 2742 Hancock St. was supposed to be released by the Baleses' insurance company in late May, according to a May 30 letter from Alyson Dyer, attorney for Knoxville, to Mary Ann Stackhouse, who represents the Baleses.

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A fire broke out the afternoon of May 1 at the recycling center, which collected recyclables for re-processing. Smoke from the blaze, which consumed paper and plastic, could be seen for miles and burned more than two days.

Nighttime view of Fort Loudon Waste fire in Knoxville
Fire crews continued to battle back flames at the Fort Loudon Waste and Recycling Center in North Knoxville on Wednesday night.
WBIR

After the fire, 10News reported the business was years behind in paying city and county property taxes and also faced a federal lien.

Jason Bales told 10News recently he preferred not to comment.

City representatives, including Fire Marshal's Office and codes enforcement officials, met with the brothers in late May.

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The brothers' insurance company was expected to release the building by the end of May, to be followed by removal of building material and steel, according to documents.

Trailers used by the center still must be cleared of material.

Fort Loudon Waste and Recycling sky view
Drone images of Fort Loudon Waste and Recycling following a massive fire. (5/6/19)
WBIR

For example, 12 trailers and four "roll-off" carts that had been stored at Helen Ross McNabb during the fire will be allowed to come back to the site. They're to be kept on the east side of the property but when the brothers are ready to empty them, the trailers can be moved to the west side.

"(City officials) agreed that your clients could sort the material, but then the material needs to be removed off-site," the letter from Dyer to Stackhouse states.

In addition, there are 57 other trailers on the site that must be dealt with, the letter states.

"Your client has advised the city that he intends to remove all unburned material off-site immediately, and all the parties have agreed that no new material can be  brought on site until the proper permits are obtained," the letter states.

Neighbors had told 10News they feared the business was once again taking in recycling material. That, however, is not occurring, according to city officials.

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"Significant progress" on site clean-up must be demonstrated within 30 days, a May 29 note from the Fire Marshal's Office to the business states.

Also, a perimeter fence will have to be repaired within 30 days. Eddie Bales also has agreed to mow the yard, the notice states.

The brothers acquired the site in 2011. Their father, Edward Bales Sr., previously owned a nearby recycling center. They took part in running it, documents show.

It, too, faced financial and legal problems including lawsuits over unpaid bills and obligations, records show.