TOWN OF TONAWANDA, N.Y. (WIVB) – Erie County lawmakers are calling on the state DEC to step up its investigation of the Amigone Crematory in the Town of Tonawanda.
The Erie County Legislature approved a non-binding resolution calling on the organization to conduct a thorough investigation of an incident that sent a cloud of black smoke billowing into the air and over the neighborhood earlier this month.
Neighbors living near the crematory were angry and frustrated after the incident.
The DEC issued a notice of violation against the crematory and Sheridan Park, a subsidiary of Amigone Funeral Home, agreed to shut down the crematory indefinitely.
Erie County lawmakers passed a resolution that could extend the closure- possibly permanently.
Tonawanda Democrat Kevin Hardwick authored the legislation, calling on the DEC to do a thorough investigation of the incident, and to keep the crematory closed for the duration, as well as to listen to the community.
“I side with the residents- I hope it never reopens,” said Hardwick. “I don’t think it belonged there in the first place.”
He pointed out that after a previous closure years ago, Amigone officials had assured lawmakers and neighbors the crematory was under control.
“That this new technology, this new and improved technology, would indeed solve all of the problems that there were with the previous facility,” Hardwick said. “As we saw from the pictures of the billowing smoke a couple of weeks ago, that was not the case.”
The legislature’s minority leader, Joe Lorigo, opposed the call for an extended closure of the crematory- and Hardwick’s call for the Erie County Department of Health to jointly monitor air quality with the DEC.
“I have people in my legislative district who have been trying to get septic tanks inspected for months, and they are on the back burner because the Department of Health is so overwhelmed with work,” Lorigo said. “I don’t think we should be adding more to their plate when they are already not able to do all the duties that they are supposed to be doing.”
The measure passed 8 to 3, but it was a non-binding resolution that has no weight in law.
The state shut down Amigone’s crematory a few years ago, but the owners went to court and reached an agreement that led to the facility reopening.