Neighbors upset over crematorium next door

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September 27, 2013 2:28:38 AM PDT
What's that burning next door? Upset neighbors say they are getting used to holding their breath when the crematory next door is having a busy day.

The Memorial Crematorium and Mortuary is located near Pine and Renwick in southewst Houston. Its services are a necessity. But nearby residents question why it has to be so close. The complaints are pouring in, but the business is operating well within the bounds of the law.

We toured the inside of the crematorium but no cameras allowed inside. The business owner says the fight with neighbors has gotten so nasty that someone even shot through his front door.

You won't hear many complaints from Joe Moncrief about his southwest Houston neighborhood except...

"Smoke, it sometimes fills up the neighborhood," Moncrief said.

He lives right next door to Memorial Crematorium. The business owner started his cremation business here nearly two years ago.

For Moncrief, it's a nuisance.

"We have two dogs. I went to walk them one afternoon, looked down the street, and looked like it was fog," he said.

The Memorial Crematorium owner told me he cremates three to five bodies a day, Monday through Friday during normal business hours -- when most people are working. On occasion, families request weekend cremation for religious reasons. He says there's no smell with cremation -- just a light gray smoke for less than a minute.

As for this black smoke captured by Moncrief's camera, the owner says "Our machine is cleaned regularly. We do everything in our power to keep from having any failures, but it's a machine."

From SkyEye HD, you can see how close the crematorium is to houses and townhomes.

"There's a grade school on the corner and a church over here. This is a residential community, and I think it's not a good place to put a business like that," concerned neighbor Rusti Stover said.

Still some neighbors wish the owner of the crematorium would consider moving elsewhere.

It's just not something that's conducive to the neighborhood," Moncrief said.

We checked with the Houston Fire Department, and the crematorium meets all requirements and city codes. They've had no violations documented by the fire marshal.

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