Southwest Side scrap yard changes facility to meet code compliance

Monterrey Iron & Metal has just more than one week left to appeal before the city revokes its license to recycle

SAN ANTONIO – With its license to recycle on the line, Chief Operating Officer Jordan Vexler said Monterrey Iron & Metal has made changes.

“It’s a terrible threat to a company that’s existed for 100 years,” Vexler said. “It’s a terrible threat to all of our employees and all of our almost 1,000 local small businesses and manufacturers throughout our community.”

Vexler said the scrap yard and recycling center had updated its fencing, pushed back salvage material further from its fencing, installed rodent barriers, updated fire lanes, and cut weeds across the property. She said they’ve done all of this to save their license to recycle and help Monterrey Iron & Metal meet city codes.

“We feel like we have come to completion with our efforts to come into full compliance,” Vexler said. “We disagreed with the city on some of the requirements and, you know, that’s just not a battle to fight. And now, we are trying to look the way they would like for us, too.”

As of Wednesday, Monterrey Iron & Metal had just about a week left to appeal the city revoking its recycling license. San Antonio’s Development Services Department cited multiple code violations as the reason why the license is now in limbo.

This isn’t the first time KSAT 12 reported on safety concerns surrounding the scrap yard. In November, neighbors first had a community meeting calling on city and state leaders for help. More than 50 people came forward with complaints about thick smoke, multiple fires, and even loud noises sounding like explosions coming from the scrap yard.

The San Antonio Fire Department confirmed at the end of 2023 that since 2021, units have responded to six reported structure fire calls at the scrap yard located on Frio City Road. KSAT 12 video archives show SAFD has responded to calls at this scrap yard for nearly a decade. The most recent fire happened on Sept. 21.

“Nobody wants to set fire,” Vexler said. “We are very fortunate that the fire did not leave our property, there was no property damage and there were no injuries. We don’t want that to happen. But unfortunately, what we do is cut metal with metal and there is friction that results and so we try to control for that risk.”

KSAT 12 got a look inside Monterrey Iron for the first time on Wednesday. Monterrey Iron’s general manager, Randy Farrar, gave the tour. He said the biggest misconception about the recycling yard is how the process unfolds.

“It’ll go up this incline, conveyor, slide down this shoot and that’s where it goes down the conveyor,” Farraer said. “These are the end-of-use piles. They have to go somewhere.”

Vexler said they’ve met with state, city, and community leaders to have discussions. She said she was aware of District 5 Councilwoman Teri Castillo’s CCR, which has a goal to improve the property and fire code across the city. Vexler said she’s hoping she can be elected to that board.

“I don’t like the language of the CCR. I think there’s some language that’s inflammatory and inaccurate.” Vexler said. “That said, the industry has changed significantly in the last 10 years. The last time our code was looked at was 2012. So, I think it is time that it’s reviewed.”

Before that, Vexler said she’s focused on keeping Monterrey’s license to recycle. Vexler said they sent a letter to the city Wednesday updating council members and code enforcement that the business had made changes to meet compliance. She said they’re waiting for a response back.

About the Authors

Avery Everett is a news reporter and multimedia journalist at KSAT 12 News. Avery is a Philadelphia native. If she’s not at the station, she’s either on a hiking or biking trail. A lover of charcuterie boards and chocolate chip cookies, Avery’s also looking forward to eating her way through San Antonio, one taco shop at a time!

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