TONAWANDA, N.Y. (WIVB) – Amigone Funeral Home is responding to public criticism following the discharge of a large plume of thick black smoke from its crematory earlier this week.
State environmental officials are now investigating the incident.
Ron Labuda and most of his neighbors on Werkley Road- behind the crematory on Sheridan Drive- couldn’t believe their eyes- it was possibly the thickest plume of smoke they had ever seen.
“Can you imagine what we have been going through all these years- inhaling human remains?” Labuda said. “I think it is ridiculous and I think the DEC should follow through with what they promised, and the attorney general- shut him down, it has been enough chances.”
Neighbors have been critical of the crematory’s location in a residential area since the very beginning- nearly 30 years ago.
They’ve taken their case to the streets, the courts, and state regulators, protesting and suing to slow down the crematory.
The New York Attorney General sued the operator, leading to a court-ordered shutdown years ago- but the order expired, and two years ago the state approved a permit allowing the crematory to operate for another two years.
“The neighborhood is upset,” Kevin Stocker told News 4.
“We sued the state, we sued the county, we sued the Town of Tonawanda, we sued the elected officials,” Stocker added. “We said we can collectively work on this problem for the community’s benefit and the health of the community.”
Sheridan Park Crematory, the subsidiary owned by Amigone Funeral Home, issued a statement explaining “an equipment operation function triggered an integrated system bypass to allow for an equipment safety action to take place.”
Tonawanda officials say that bypass may be what led to the smoke discharge, according to the DEC.
Amigone officials say they are investigating, and so is the state DEC.