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Donna Reardon is the mayor of Saint John. Image: Facebook/Mayor Donna Reardon

Saint John mayor responds to report on AIM fire

By Tara Clow Dec 7, 2023 | 7:55 AM

The mayor of Saint John hopes appropriate action will now be taken after the release of a final report into the Sept. 14 fire at American Iron and Metal.

A joint task force made up of representatives from Port Saint John and the provincial government released its final report last week, with 12 findings rating to:

  • environmental impacts of the operations and contamination following the fire
  • public safety risks related to emergency planning and fire suppression capabilities
  • the physical location of the operations
  • negative socio-economic impacts on the City of Saint John, residents and surrounding communities
  • overall environmental, health and safety risks of the operations

Donna Reardon agreed with findings based on the location of the scrapyard, “The fact that they’ve had 180 or 181 explosions, in 22 fires in the last several years.  From being a Councillor since 2012, we’d look at zoning and rezoning and neighbourhoods. There is no planning document that would ever recommend heavy industry be adjacent to a neighbourhood. It’s not the right fit. I’ve always said it’s not the right fit.”

She adds it was a bit concerning to hear in the report that this kind of thing could happen again if AIM were to resume operations in that location again.

“My wishes are that the regulators at the province of New Brunswick take appropriate action and do it ASAP. Let’s get this ball rolling,” Reardon adds.

Reardon believes that guardian angels are real and that Saint John must have one, “The day before the fire, we had the three cruise ships in, and then that day, the Osprey just happened to be in the Harbour. So it was so fortuitous to have that piece of equipment and to have no cruise ships on that day.”