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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

AIM responds to task force report on September fire

By Brad Perry Dec 28, 2023 | 10:26 AM

American Iron and Metal (AIM) has responded to a task force report looking into September’s fire at its Saint John scrapyard.

Public Safety Minister Kris Austin gave the company until Dec. 22 to respond to the report before deciding whether to revoke the facility’s licence.

A government spokesperson confirmed Thursday that the company has responded to the minister’s request.

Bruce Macfarlane said the minister is currently reviewing the response, adding there is no timeline for when any decisions may be made.

Flames broke out inside a massive pile of crushed cars on Sept. 14 and burned for more than 40 hours, prompting a voluntary city-wide shelter-in-place order due to air quality concerns.

A provincial task force, which was appointed shortly after the fire, released its report on Dec. 5 and made 12 findings.

It found AIM did not and does not have an emergency plan capable of effectively responding to a fire like the one that happened in September.

The report also found that the Saint John Fire Department is not equipped to respond to a fire of this magnitude, and the city’s water resources are not sufficient.

The task force also found a “high likelihood” of future fires at the site and a “material risk” that a catastrophic fire could happen again.

It also noted that the facility’s location in the middle of the city “is entirely inappropriate given its now known hazards and risks.”