Indianapolis – Over a year, abandoned warehouse buildings across Indianapolis have been destroyed by three big fires. All fires have showed up health concerns for the firefighters as well as the nearby communities concerned about asbestos risk.
In June 2013, a Belmont Ave. warehouse caught fire. After three months, another warehouse on Van Buren St. caught fire. And, on last Friday, one more Van Buren St. warehouse burned.
The empty south-side warehouse building which caught fire last Friday contained asbestos. The neighbors are highly concerned as asbestos is a known human carcinogen.
Friday’s fire was the 2nd one in the same year. A nearby structure caught fire and asbestos-containing tiles burning on its roof created dangerous conditions for both onlookers and firefighters. Most of them say the structure should’ve been torn down many years ago.
Scott Logston, the owner of the house, says it should’ve been demolished or made safe for the general public and those who live around it.
Warning labels have been already posted around the warehouse site. According to the city officials, the owner, who has been fully cooperating, has hired an authorized asbestos abatement contractor.
Adam Baker, of the Indianapolis Code Enforcement Department, said they have got a very responsible property owner in the situation. Baker appreciated the property owner for acting responsibly and quickly to clean up the asbestos from the site.
Those who live close to the property want both the buildings to be demolished. They are highly concerned that somebody is intentionally burning the vacant structures and will keep on doing that in the future as well, endangering the firefighters and putting the community at health risk.
The actual cause of the fire has not been determined so far.
Asbestos had been extensively used in construction works until the 1980s because of its numerous desirable properties such as flexibility, durability, strength, and heat-, fire-, electricity- and corrosion-resistance. Its low cost also made asbestos a favorite substance among the industries.
However, it has some dangerous properties as well. Asbestos is made up of numerous microscopic fibres which can be released into the surroundings when the material is disturbed, damaged, deteriorated or broken. Airborne asbestos fibres could be breathed in by anyone quite easily. Asbestos inhalation is linked to a number of deadly ailments such as malignant mesothelioma and asbestosis. Asbestos-related diseases usually take 2 to 4 decades to start showing their initial symptoms.