Becker residents seek answers from city council in first meeting after Northern Metals fire

Last month, a major fire at Northern Metals Recycling burned for days, sending huge plumes of smoke into the air.

For the first time since the fire, Wednesday, Becker’s City Council met. The fire wasn’t on the agenda, but a group of people from Becker and the surrounding area used a public comment period to let city leaders know their concerns.

People who are concerned about the impact of the fire and about how the city is dealing with it have formed an alliance. They want information on the rules and regulations in place for Northern Metals, for it to pay for the response to the fire and continued soil and water testing.

“First, we want answers,” said Beth Lee, of the Great River Area Impact Alliance. “We want to know what happened. The timeline. When the testing was done. Where the testing was done, because we want to feel safe. We want soil testing. We want water testing. We want to hold people accountable if there is fault to be had.”

“I just want to make sure that the air quality is to where we don’t have any issues in the future,” said Nathan Johnson, who lives near Northern Metals.

Air quality tests performed at the time showed no signs of any immediate dangers.

The mayor and the police chief say they are waiting for other agencies, like the State Fire Marshal and Minnesota Pollution Control Agency to wrap up their investigations before they make any plans moving forward.