Crematory Causing 'Odors' in Tonawanda Neighborhood, Residents Say

July 9, 2012 Updated Jul 9, 2012 at 11:20 PM EDT

By John Borsa

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July 9, 2012 Updated Jul 9, 2012 at 11:20 PM EDT

TOWN OF TONAWANDA, NY (WKBW) - Ron Labuda wants his summers back.

For nearly two decades, he says his home sits in a stick zone.

"Horrible odors. Smoke. It's just terrible," he said.

Labuda points to a smokestack behind his home which belongs to Amigone Funeral Home, Inc. on Sheridan Drive.

Labuda said he can smell human flesh when the crematory at the funeral home is operating. The smokestack pushes out ash which covers his backyard and prevents him from enjoying the outdoors.

Dozens of neighbors gathered on Labuda's street, Werkeley Road, to petition the New York State Attorney General's Office to force Amigone to move their crematory.

"We want to see the crematory shut down," said Erin Heaney, executive director of the Clean Air Coalition of WNY.

"We don't think that the neighbors should have to breathe in heavy, heavy smoke and experience strong odors in their yards. It's just not the right place for a crematory," she said.

The attorney general's office did not return phone calls seeking comment.

The owner of Amigone Funeral Home said the crematory does not smell as residents claim.

"We've done everything we can to pacify the neighbors except move. And it's not an easy thing to do," said Anthony Amigone, Sr.

"If somebody opens their swimming pool around here, they smell chlorine and they blame us. If the man that lives behind us -- he does woodworking on his boat and if he's varnishing and they smell that, we get blamed for it. Any truck that goes by and a puff of diesel smoke -- we get blamed for it," he added.

The crematory has been operating at the location for more than 20 years.

A portion of the property has been zoned as a cemetery, even though no burial site exists at the funeral home. But the designation as a cemetery was necessary to install the crematory.