Residents on Belmont Ave. were greeted by clouds of thick smoke rising over their neighborhood on Saturday. A warehouse had gone up in flames over the weekend, but there’s something beyond the fire that is posing a serious risk to those living nearby.
Paper debris from the fire floated across the area, scattering dangerous pieces of the toxic material asbestos. Fine asbestos fibers can easily be inhaled and become trapped in the lungs. Overtime this can cause serious health issues like asbestosis, which causes breathing difficulties, and mesothelioma, a rare and deadly form of lung cancer.
And these risks are very real for the people near the Belmont fire. The owner of the building where the fire began was ordered by the Marion County Health Department to hire cleaning crews, who quickly arrived on the scene to remove the dangerous materials. The EPA even brought in their own members to help out as well. The public has been warned to not touch the toxic materials and to avoid cutting their grass as it could release dangerous fibers into the air. They have also been advised to wet down any debris and to not use their bare hands if picking it up.
According to a clean-up coordinator, “It’s mainly in big chunks now and we’re trying to prevent it from breaking up and getting into the small pieces that people can inhale.” They’re also monitoring the air as they go to make sure no asbestos fibers have gone airborne. Crews will continue to clean throughout the nearby neighborhoods until the asbestos threat is completely removed. The cause of the original fire, however, still isn’t known.
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Asbestos exposure is incredibly dangerous and sometimes it takes symptoms of asbestos-related illnesses years to show up. If you’ve been exposed to asbestos at work or in your community and suffered complications, you should contact the Indianapolis injury lawyers at the Ken Nunn Law Office.
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Source. TheIndyChannel.com, ‘http://www.theindychannel.com/news/local-news/workers-clean-up-asbestos-debris-in-neighborhoods-near-warehouse,’ Chris Proffitt, June 23, 2013.
Source. WTHR.com, ‘http://www.wthr.com/story/22665781/2013/06/23/asbestos-cleanup-begins-after-belmont-fire,’ Carrie Cline, June 23, 2013.