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A fire at American Iron and Metal's scrapyard facility in Saint John on Sept. 14, 2023. Image: Submitted/Jennifer Mai

Province suspending AIM Recycling operations, investigation planned

By Tara Clow Sep 15, 2023 | 7:22 AM

A massive pile of crushed cars continues to burn at the AIM Recycling facility in Saint John.

Residents in and around the city continue to shelter in place over air quality concerns.

Fire Chief Kevin Clifford says it’s too early to know how the fire started.

He suspects it may have burned for several hours before being noticed.

Meanwhile, New Brunswick’s premier says there will be a full investigation into the fire at American Iron and Metal.

“I know people are angry and want answers as to how this could happen. I want those answers as well and I am committed to sharing what we find out as soon as we are able,” said Blaine Higgs.

He said in a late Thursday statement that AIM must submit a preliminary report within 24 hours of the event and a follow-up report within five days of the event.

He adds there will be no consideration of resumption of operations until we have more information about what took place.

“The focus at the moment is on getting the fire out and ensuring everyone’s safety. Firefighters and emergency crews have spent the day doing just that and they will continue until the fire is extinguished,” Higgs says.

The premier adds his thanks to the firefighters and emergency crews who have responded, along with J.D. Irving, Limited, Irving Oil, city officials, EMO, and the residents of greater Saint John who have been helping by checking on their loved ones and neighbours.

“I ask that everyone continues to follow the direction given from emergency officials to keep you safe.”

The president and CEO and board chair for Port Saint John said they agree with the decision to immediately suspend operations and conduct a full investigation at American Iron and Metal.

Craig Bell Estabrooks and Jack Keir say the port will provide any and all information that the province requires.

“We’ve heard the frustration, disappointment, and alarm from our community today. What happened is unacceptable. We are committed to working with the Province and our key stakeholders to ensure something like this doesn’t happen again,” Bell Estabrooks and Keir stated in a statement.

(Photo: Courtesy of Jennifer Mai)