Smoke from explosion tonight drifts across American Iron & Metal site on the Lower West Side

One of the most significant explosions in some time has rattled the dinner hour for Lower West Side and Central Peninsula residents. The explosion happened moments ago rattling windows and shaking the Harbourfront Condos across the harbour from the plant.

The plant has been at the centre of controversy over the last two years for a series of explosions in the Fall of 2018 blamed on propane and gasoline tanks in crushed vehicles going through the shredder. The provincial government stepped in with a series of restrictions on the plant’s operation. One of those conditions is if an explosion registers a certain level on sensors – the shredder must shut down immediately.

Local plant management has worked with the Provincial Environment Department – the Port – and a Community Liaison Committee to address concerns. But in recent weeks – the number of bangs at the plant has been slowly increasing with tonight’s explosion the strongest yet.

The plant was the scene of a major fire in late September. The blaze was confined to an area where material from vehicle dashboards and seats is separated and gathered for shipping to be recycled. The cause of the fire was blamed on a piece of heated metal that found its way into the “fluff” material and eventually ignited.

AIM fire in September