St. Louis neighborhood faces asbestos scare

20 Jul 2017 by Sarah Mahan under News

Bauer Elementary ASBESTOS 2 100x100 St. Louis neighborhood faces asbestos scare Homeowners in a St. Louis, Missouri, neighborhood took to their yards last week to clean up debris from four-alarm fire that engulfed a nearby historic mansion. The issue? The charred debris contained asbestos.

Neighbors had to test the debris themselves to determine if the human carcinogen was present after calls to the city health department went unanswered, according to St. Lewis Public Radio. Nearly a week after the fire, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) officials confirmed the presence of asbestos in debris surrounding the mansion. However, much to the outrage of residents, the extent of the asbestos issue was indeterminable because the mansion’s owner, Paul McKee Jr., would not allow the agency to test on his property. He told The St. Louis American he did not allow the EPA to test because the “house is not stable, is unsafe and our insurance company has advised us not to let anyone enter the home until it is deemed safe for entry.”

It wasn’t until nearly two weeks after the fire that the EPA gained access to the property, conducting tests at the location and setting up air-monitoring equipment in the neighborhood. Test results are expected by the end of the week, which will dictate the next steps for remediation, according to the mayor’s office.

Residents are wondering why the city’s health department did not take any action to handle the situation. Neighbor Megan Betts said the first time neighbors spoke to the department,  they were told the city didn’t have the resources to handle the case. She said state and federal agencies were shocked the city was not taking any action. “The man at the EPA even said, ‘Looks like you better hire a lawyer,’” she told the news source.

The EPA has scheduled a meeting to answer questions as area residents wait for test results to determine future action.

 

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