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Smoke could still be seen coming from a smouldering pile of crushed cars at AIM Recycling in Saint John on the morning of Sept. 15, 2023. Image: Brad Perry

AIM given chance to respond to task force report

By News Dec 8, 2023 | 12:14 PM

New Brunswick’s Public Safety Minister is giving American Iron and Metal the chance to respond to findings in a report.

Kris Austin says the task force found numerous issues with the facility and its location and it is up to him to decide if their salvage dealers license should be revoked.

But he adds that he will not be making any further decisions until he has the opportunity to review a response from the company.  AIM has until December 22 to respond.

The report by the task force, which was released on Dec. 5, had 12 findings.

Some of the findings include:

  • AIM did not, and does not, have an emergency plan capable of effectively responding to the Sept. 14 fire or a similar fire in the future.
  • AIM operations carry a significant risk of explosion and fire, with a high likelihood of future fires at the AIM site, including a material risk that a catastrophic fire similar to that of Sept. 14 could recur.
  • The location of the AIM operation, in the middle of Saint John, adjacent to the harbour and a residential neighbourhood, is entirely inappropriate given its now known hazards and risks.
  • The AIM operations are an environmental, health and safety risk to Saint John, surrounding communities, and their residents.
  • The negative socio-economic impacts of the AIM operations at its present site are unacceptable to the City of Saint John, its residents, and surrounding communities.

“I know the residents of Saint John and New Brunswick want us to ensure another fire of this magnitude does not occur,” said Austin. “We have serious concerns that require urgent attention; however, I will not be making further decisions until I have had the opportunity to review the company’s response.”

A massive fire in Saint John’s uptown left residents uneasy, after being out on high alert due to air quality concerns from the smoke.    It took 22-million gallons of water to fight the fire, and it caused environmental concerns due to contaminants released into the air from the large salvage scrapyard.