Clarification Regarding LaJoie’s New Milford Auto Wrecking

There was a question at the last New Milford Zoning Commission meeting as to whether a car shredder would be proposed at 407 Kent Road aka Lajoie’s New Milford Auto Wrecking. To confirm, there will be no car shredder on site ever as part of the LaJoie’s plans. It would have an adverse impact on neighboring property owners and would not be desirable as it would not fit in with the residential neighborhood.

From the June 10, 2009 New Milford Spectrum (written by Susan Tuz),

“Whether explosions and fires could occur at LaJoie’s New Milford Auto Wrecking at 407 Kent Road has been questioned by the junkyard’s Squash Hollow neighbor Peg Baxter. Mrs. Baxter asked the New Milford Zoning Commission Tuesday to review newspaper articles from Norwalk regarding a series of 24 fires and/or explosions at LaJoie’s Auto & Scrap Recycling yard between 2004 and 2008 in that city. “The articles show that the fires were caused from use of a shredder that shreds cars,” Mr. Baxter said. “The addition of a shredder should not be allowed at the New Milford site.”

Neighbors to the Kent Road site have raised concerns about junk yard owner Don LaJoie’s clearing of natural buffers at the site and expansion begun there.

Paul Szymanski of Arthur Howland & Associates has been representing Mr. LaJoie before the zoners as approval of a site plan for continued changes to the property is sought. Mr. Szymanski assured the commission no shredder would be installed at the New Milford site and the most recent fire, in August 2008, had been caused when a pile of “fluff,” a term for the nonmetallic materials in a motor vehicles such as foam and upholstery ignited. When cars are shredded at the Norwalk yard, the fluff is separated from the metallic materials and it piles up near the shredder, Mr. Szymanski explained.

James Murphy, manager at LaJoie’s Norwalk yard and property owner of the New Milford yard, confirmed there would be no shredder installed at the Kent Road site. “We had an issue last year that we believe was arson,” Mr. Murphy said. “But the one has no relevance to New Milford. There is no intention of ever having a shredder in New Milford. That site will be used exactly as [former owner] Pete Sanford had used it before, only in a more organized fashion.”

Fires and explosions at the Norwalk yard have been the subject of concern in that city. The Health, Welfare and Public Safety Committee there met in late August to meet with the city’s fire chief, Denis McCarthy, about the continuing incidents. McCarthy said at that time that Lajoie’s business had been responsive to fire department concerns and fire safety instructions and he believed the fire incidents would be reduced, according to The Hour, a Norwalk newspaper.

Mr. Murphy said all 24 incidents of fire that have occurred at the site were shredder related.”

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