ALBUQUERQUE, New Mexico (KOAT) -- City officials say it's supposed to be closed.

“That facility shouldn't be operating currently,” said Mark DiMenna, director of Albuquerque’s Environmental Health Department.

Neighbors say the smell is toxic.

“I really don't know what dead bodies smelling smells like, but it was unpleasant,” said one person who lives close by.

Albuquerque City Councilor Pat Davis has been getting complaints.

“I had constituents reached out to me and shared a video of the crematorium at the Fairview Memorial Park that was back working again,” Davis said.

Target 7 spoke to a person who filmed video of the Fairview crematorium this past weekend. In the video, you can see black billowing clouds coming from the crematorium.

“But nothing coming out of that chimney looks like it's normal, acceptable or would be allowed by any state regulator or city regulator,” the neighbor said.

City regulators like Mark DiMenna, director of Albuquerque’s Environmental Health Department, are already looking into complaints

“The inspector was granted access and was able to see they are currently operating yesterday when he was there,” DiMenna said.

DiMenna tells Target 7 the crematorium should not be operating.

“We've been on site and been able to witness operations a couple of times now. So we did confirm that they are operating currently without that permit,” DiMenna said.

Target 7 spoke with those who operate the crematorium and they said they had to open it back up for good reason.

“So to be quite honest with you and be very transparent and candid with you, we're experiencing something that I've never experienced in my 20 plus years, you know, in the funeral business,” said Colby Hitchcock.

Colby Hitchcock is the director of operations for the Park Lawn Corporation in New Mexico.

He said they had to open their crematorium up because they are over capacity.

“The game plan is not to have that crematory open permanently, but people need to understand that it was necessary because we had nowhere else to go where no, I mean, we had nothing, nowhere else to go with these people,” Hitchcock said.

But Hitchcock said the crematorium was able to operate when it did.

The city of Albuquerque Environmental Health Department gave Target 7 documents showing that Colby Hitchcock signed his name back on Sept. 10 canceling the permit to operate the crematorium.

“I will continue to work with the air quality board or the city of Albuquerque and be cooperative to the best of my ability," Hitchcock said.

The city acknowledges the reasoning for Fairview to open back up, but says they need to do so with a valid permit.

However, the black smoke coming from the crematorium is still alarming to the city's environmental health department.

“The inspector has done some looking at that what we call opacity, which is how dense the cloud is. And there is far too much dark smoke for what's allowed," DiMenna said.

DiMenna said if the crematorium renews its permit, it can start operating again legally.

However, he wants to have the equipment inspected first.

Please note: This content carries a strict local market embargo. If you share the same market as the contributor of this article, you may not use it on any platform.

You must be logged in to react.
Click any reaction to login.

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.