Asbestos Found in Demolished Building

February 25, 2008 8:18:13 PM PST
A toxic chemical has been discovered in a large pile of rubble that was once considered a dangerous building in Downtown Fresno.A judge ordered the demolition of a building at the corner of Fulton and San Joaquin because of safety concerns.

City Inspectors detected small amounts of asbestos in the rubble behind me.

Crews tore down the building in mid January because they thought it was about to collapse.

More than a month later the pile remains. Now neighbors have health concerns and want the eyesore gone for good.

Brick and wood mark the spot where a very old Fresno building once stood. The mound covers an entire downtown lot.

Near the middle it stands one story tall.

The rubble is a sight Lakisha Eddings and her daughter pass once a week when they walk down Fulton Street.

Lakisha Eddings: "Number one there's bricks. Number two, you got nails all types of nasty germs that could be infested in there. That's not a good thing. You don't want stuff hanging out like that. Don't you smell that? That's not a good smell."

In January emergency crews determined heavy rains weakened the structure.

City Officials quickly asked for it to be torn down.

The city attorney's office suspected the cancer causing chemical asbestos could turn up in the rubble.

Charlotte Hylton: "We're moving as quickly as we can to get the rubble removed."

Deputy City Attorney Charlotte Hylton said they can't touch the mess because the building's owner is in bankruptcy court.

Until that is resolved the mound and asbestos will be here.

Charlotte Hylton: "We're not at a public health issue. It is very minimal. However, we do urge people to stay out of the debris. There have been some people going in and trying to pull bricks and metal and so forth."

A large apartment building sits across the street.

That's where Sid Gutierrez lives.

He is grateful the city tore down an eye sore but not happy another one was made.

Sid Gutierrez: "It's gonna contaminate rats or whatever that's going to start getting in there."

City officials estimate the legal troubles surrounding this property could take more than a month to resolve.

Then it could cost more than $120-thousand dollars to remove the debris.

The presence of asbestos will make the clean up more complicated.


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