Asbestos discovered when cleaning crews were clearing debris after Hurricane Matthew is wreaking havoc for dozens of Virginia Beach residents, reports an article in the Virginian-Pilot.
According to the newspaper report, crews discovered asbestos in more than 80 apartments and townhouses in the Waypoint at Lynnhaven complex in the resort town.
Now, those who live in these tainted homes are being made to find new living options and are also being kept from returning to their homes to collect their belongings, largely because they may be contaminated.
The Kettler Company, which manages the apartments, says keeping the residents out is for their own safety.
“There’s a plan in place to investigate the extent of asbestos on the rest of the property,” she said. “We will go through this process with our consultant and they will let us know if and when the units are ready,” says Coco Lyons, a spokesperson for the company. She added that there was no determined date for this.
In the meantime, Waypoint is reimbursing the residents for hotel stays until October 31, but beyond that, the residents will be on their own. The company says they will return security deposits to those in affected apartments and will pro-rate October rents.
They’ve also provided a list of apartment complexes with vacancies but, still, the situation leaves many in a quandary as there are likely not enough empty apartments to accommodate all the displaced tenants.
Furthermore, with no access to their belongings – including clothing – residents of Waypoint have been wearing the same thing for weeks or have had to spend money on new items. Chances are they will also need to purchase furniture and housewares upon entering a new living situation.
Some residents that were interviewed by the Virginian-Pilot noted that water poured into their homes on the night that Hurricane Matthew came ashore in this Virginia coastal town.
Water came under the doors of the apartments and many said it was at least a day before Waypoint management responded to their cries for help. A few noted that they had as much as 6 inches of water in their homes. It was during the post-flood clean-up that crews found the asbestos materials.
Unfortunately, Kettler representatives have been unresponsive to questions, says City Councilwoman Shannon Kane, who has been trying to get more and better answers for the residents, many of whom might be homeless within the week.
Sadly, many older apartments, particularly those that are low cost or attract a poorer clientele, contain asbestos. In many instances, management is aware of the presence of the material yet never discloses that information. (It is unclear as to whether Kettler Company knew about the asbestos in Waypoint.)
As a result, tenants encounter the toxic material and don’t even realize they’re being exposed to something hazardous until it’s too late.
Later in life, due to this negligent exposure, individuals may find themselves suffering from asbestos-related diseases, including asbestosis or even mesothelioma, asbestos-caused cancer.