South San Diego County crematorium owner denies human ashes were released into the air

Posted at 4:45 PM, May 25, 2018
and last updated 2018-05-25 20:35:09-04

NATIONAL CITY, Calif. (KGTV) - A National City crematorium owner denied Friday that human remains were released into the air during a furnace emergency at the facility.

National City firefighters responded to a call Thursday afternoon at the Cortez Family Crematorium at 100 W. 35th St, near Interstate 5 and SR-54.

A furnace door was open while the system was operating, triggering the building’s heat detectors. A plume of smoke rose from the building and drifted east.

A National City Fire captain and the San Diego Air Pollution Control District indicated human remains were released into the air along with chemicals, the crematorium owner disputes the information.

Angela told 10News reporter Travis Rice the human remains were covered with a cardboard box at the time of the emergency. The box caught fire due to ambient heat in the furnace and the remains were not burned, she said. Firefighters reset the system, which shut the door and the cremation resumed.

RELATED: Crematorium accident sends smoke containing human ashes into the air

The San Diego Air Pollution Control District said there was no public health risk from the smoke.

The California Cemetery and Funeral Bureau told 10News it is investigating the situation.

10News reporter Travis Rice goes inside the crematorium on 10News at 5 p.m.

Cortez Family Crematorium has been operating since 2014 and has no record of violations, state officials said.