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N.B. inspecting AIM sites as fire code compliance deadline passes

American Iron and Metal's site off Toombs Street in Moncton had noticeably smaller piles of scrap material when viewed from above on Wednesday.  (Roger Cosman/CBC - image credit)
American Iron and Metal's site off Toombs Street in Moncton had noticeably smaller piles of scrap material when viewed from above on Wednesday. (Roger Cosman/CBC - image credit)

The New Brunswick government says it is inspecting a metal recycling company's sites to see if it is now in compliance with the fire code.

American Iron and Metal was given until Wednesday to comply with the code at its scrapyards in the province's three major cities.

"American Iron and Metal (AIM) has until today to reach compliance with National Fire Code provisions at their facilities on Toombs Street in Moncton, Recycling Street in Saint John, and Carman Avenue in Fredericton," Allan Dearing, a spokesperson for the province, said in an emailed statement Wednesday.

"The Office of the Fire Marshal will be conducting inspections this week to ensure full compliance."

Dearing said the department won't provide any other comments until the inspections are complete.

American Iron and Metal's scrap yard on Recycling Street in east Saint John on Feb. 7, 2024.
American Iron and Metal's scrap yard on Recycling Street in east Saint John on Feb. 7, 2024.

AIM's Saint John location on Recycling Street on Wednesday. (Roger Cosman/CBC)

The statement didn't answer what consequences the company could face if inspectors determine the sites haven't complied.

CBC News went to look at the three sites Wednesday morning, and all three appeared to have less scrap material than before.

The sites were among 10 locations issued compliance notices by provincial inspectors last year during checks of 87 scrapyards around New Brunswick.

The provincewide inspections were carried out following the release of a report on a massive fire at AIM's west Saint John port site on Sept. 14. That fire burned for roughly 40 hours and prompted a city-wide shelter in place order because of hazardous smoke.

The AIM sites were ordered to fix various issues.

American Iron and Metal's site in Fredericton on Feb. 7, 2024.
American Iron and Metal's site in Fredericton on Feb. 7, 2024.

The company's site in Fredericton off Carman Avenue on Wednesday. (Mike Heenan/CBC)

The Moncton site was ordered to develop a fire safety plan and ensure piles of material are stored in compliance with the 2015 National Fire Code of Canada. That code restricts piles of scrap to no more than six metres in height.

The Saint John location was ordered to install a fence.

AIM went to court in December to challenge the deadline to comply with the orders. The company in a court filing said it couldn't meet the timeline previously set by the province because of the amount of material it would need to move and the availability of trucks and railcars.

Before a judge heard the case, the company and province reached an agreement to extend the deadline to Feb. 7.

AIM also agreed to stop accepting new material at the three sites.

The company has yet to respond to a request for comment.

The deadline doesn't affect AIM's port site where the fire burned in September.

Public Safety Minister Kris Austin revoked the company's approval for that location under the province's Salvage Dealers Licensing Act in late December. The company also has a separate approval from the provincial Environment Department, which was suspended after the fire.

The company had 90 days to challenge the minister's decision in court, a timeframe that ends in late March.