Office of Maryland Attorney General J. Joseph Curran, Jr.

January 2, 2001 Media Inquiries: Sean Caine 410-576-6357


Baltimore - Attorney General J. Joseph Curran announced today that Todd Easterday, 32, 11012 Stanley Drive, and the Warrenfeltz Company, of which Mr. Easterday is the Vice President, was convicted on December 28, 2000, by a Washington County Circuit Court jury of Open Burning without a Permit and Commercial Littering. Judge Frederick Wright ordered Mr. Easterday to pay a total fine of $5,000 and placed him on three years unsupervised probation. Judge Wright ordered the company to pay a total fine of $3,000. Todd's brother, Michael Easterday, who was charged with Open Burning without a Permit based on the same incident, was acquitted early Thursday morning by Wright.

On February 8, 1999, an anonymous complaint was received by the Maryland Department of the Environment that a building was being demolished at the Warrenfeltz True Value & Rental Center store, located on Main Street in Boonsboro, and that a fire had been observed there. The Boonsboro Fire Department was dispatched to the scene, where members observed several employees of the Warrenfeltz Company dismantling an old storage building and burning the debris. At that time, the owners of the store were notified of the proper permits required to burn materials in the open.

On the following day, inspectors from MDE and the Washington County Health Department went to the Warrenfeltz store and observed a smoldering pile of ashes and partially burned debris. The inspectors advised Todd Easterday, Vice President of Warrenfeltz Company, who was present at the scene, that open burning without a permit was unlawful and provided him with a copy of the regulations relating to open burning. Records show that no permit or permission was requested or issued for an open fire at this location.

Later in the afternoon on February 9, inspectors observed two dump trucks at the Warrenfeltz store being loaded with demolition debris and later depart the Warrenfeltz store. Shortly thereafter, an MDE inspector observed the same trucks take loads of demolition debris to another property owned by the Easterday family, located on Greenbriar Road in Boonsboro and dump the loads there. The debris pile was estimated to be approximately 150 feet long and 30 feet wide and was observed to contain scrap lumber, metal roofing material, plastic, and land clearing debris. On that day, one of the inspectors observed Todd Easterday pour the contents of what appeared to be a red gasoline container into the debris pile and observed black smoke rising from the pile. As the pile burned, inspectors observed Michael Easterday, also an employee of the Warrenfeltz Company, lighting additional areas of the debris pile with a lighted stick. Records show that no permit or permission was requested or issued for an open fire at this location.

The charge of knowingly failing to obtain a permit or approval required under the Environment Article of the Maryland Annotated Code is a misdemeanor, which carries a maximum penalty of one year in jail and/or a fine of $25,000 for a first offense. The charge of littering for commercial purposes, or in an amount exceeding 500 pounds or 216 cubic feet in volume, is a misdemeanor, which carries a maximum penalty of five years in jail and/or a fine of $25,000.

"Mr. Easterday was advised of the laws in Maryland concerning open burning and commercial littering twice in two days," Attorney General Curran said. "He chose to ignore them and now he and his company must pay substantial fines. These laws are in place to protect the citizens and the environment in Maryland and are not to be arbitrarily obeyed."

This case was investigated by the Attorney General's Environmental Crimes Unit and the Maryland State Police.