Residents near historic cemetery concerned about excessive smoke from crematory

Albuquerque News

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – People in an Albuquerque neighborhood are fed up with the smoke coming from the crematory at the nearby cemetery. They say it’s a constant problem that creeps them out. People nearby are used to living near the historic cemetery for the most part but some will never get used to the smoke and ash.

About two weeks ago, a resident near Fairview Memorial Park captured streams of black smoke filling the air. The source of the smoke is pretty disturbing. “I think people thought, ‘oh they’re burning brush or trash or something, not bodies,'” says Patty Willson, President, Victory Hills Neighborhood Association.

The cemetery and crematorium are right next to an apartment complex and a residential area about four blocks south of the University of New Mexico. “It’s very disrespectful of people’s loved ones. It’s bad enough to know your loved one is going up in smoke but when the smoke is over in someone else’s face it’s maybe worse,” Willson says.

Willson says the smoke has become a concern, with the high winds and air quality health alerts this month. “The wind it was blowing sort of directly to the east and so many of the people who live on Princeton, their houses back directly on to Columbia because there is no alley here. So they had smoke in their backyards,” Willson says.

Willson says in 2019, there were plans for a new facility with a more efficient furnace, which would mean less smoke for the surrounding neighborhood. “I don’t necessarily think it’s a bad thing to have a newer crematorium here because the services that Daniels Family provides to families when they’ve lost somebody that’s an important service,” Willson says.

The city’s Environmental Health Department started investigating the crematorium last week to see if it’s sending too much smoke into the neighborhood. Daniels Family Funeral Services did not return KRQE News 13 calls.

The city’s Planning Department says the cemetery submitted a proposal for a new crematorium but never finished the process.

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