A small explosion at the American Iron and Metal (AIM) industrial metal processing plant on the Saint John harbour rattled windows — and nerves — in the city Wednesday evening.
“I was just about to sit down and have dinner,” says Gary MacDonald, who lives in the Harbourview condos just across the water from AIM.
“All of the sudden there was this dull thud and the windows rattled,” he added.
“It felt like the building shook.”
Both Port Saint John and the city’s fire department confirm they were notified of the explosion at 5:26 p.m. Wednesday, stating the incident didn’t meet the parameters for a response.
The facility has been controversially noisy.
Dealing with recycled metals, mostly in the form of old cars, a massive shredder rips the materials apart.
When leftover fuel or compressed containers meet that shredder, explosions happen.
Many residents, like MacDonald, have complained of the impact the explosions have had on their quality of life, particularly across the harbour or in the city’s lower west side.
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Global News reached out to AIM for comment; calls to both their local office and head office in Montreal were not returned.
In a written statement sent to Global News, New Brunswick’s Environment and Climate Change Minister Gary Crossman said AIM’s approval to operate from the department states they have to cease operations when a bang louder than 104 decibels happens.
“It is our understanding that in the case of the explosion on Wednesday evening,” Crossman writes, “the sound level reading was below 104 decibels.”
It’s believed low cloud cover was responsible for making that bang sound louder than it actually registered.
Saint John Mayor Don Darling’s office told Global News he would be meeting with the province soon to discuss the AIM facility.
Darling has expressed frustration with the explosions several times, including on social media Wednesday.
He was also frustrated at the costs the city faced when emergency crews had to respond to a fire at the facility in September.
It isn’t clear when Darling might meet with the province on the matter.