Saint John, N.B., scrapyard fire contained, shelter-in-place advisory lifted: mayor

Click to play video: 'Massive fire breaks out at AIM facility in Saint John'
Massive fire breaks out at AIM facility in Saint John
A large fire has broken out at American Iron and Metal in Saint John. The fire started around 1 a.m. and crews continue to battle what the fire chief says is a deep rooted industrial fire. Nathalie Sturgeon reports. – Sep 14, 2023

The mayor of Saint John, N.B., says a fire at a metal recycling plant has been contained and the citywide shelter-in-place advisory is now lifted.

But Donna Reardon says it will take some time before the smouldering fire at the American Iron & Metal recycling plant is put out.

She says the fire that started early Thursday morning was at its peak the size of three football fields and about three storeys tall, adding that it left an acrid smell in the air.

Reardon says the firefighters’ strategy is to break apart the pile of scrap metal at the plant located in the city’s port, and ensure the embers are doused.

She says the fire is “quite the environmental disaster” and the city will soon start to focus on cleanup.

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Management from the company issued a statement one day after the fire, saying that the safety and well-being of employees and the public were “paramount” to them.

“We will continue to work with local authorities to determine the cause of the incident and, where necessary, put additional measures in place to mitigate the risk of this happening again,” read the statement.

“We are sorry for this incident’s impact on residents and the community. Our team is committed to keeping residents and stakeholders informed as we move forward.”

Premier Blaine Higgs says there will be a full investigation and that American Iron & Metal was ordered to submit a preliminary report within 24 hours of the fire.

The fire prompted officials to warn residents across the city to stay indoors and close their windows, and Environment Canada to issue a special air quality statement for downtown Saint John that was in effect until Thursday evening because of elevated pollution levels.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 15, 2023.


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