Apartment Residents Had to Be Decontaminated After Asbestos Scare
Residents in an apartment complex in North Hollywood were made to evacuate their units and there’s no word as to when they can return after what local firefighters are describing as an “asbestos breakout” at their homes.
The Los Angeles Fire Department reports that hazmat officials had to clear out the 12-unit apartment last week after building management failed to complete a “notice to comply”.
A South Coast Air Quality Management official had inspected the units a week before and determined that asbestos debris had been left in a common hallway on the ground floor by a contractor that was renovating an apartment that had been recently vacated.
The asbestos was in a spot that had to be passed by residents going both in and out of the complex by the side door, so exposure was happening on a daily basis, reports NBC Los Angeles.
“It was improper removal so basically the whole building was exposed to airborne dust from asbestos,” one resident said.
Now, due to this unfortunate scenario, 15 residents at the complex had to be formally “decontaminated” by fire department officials and all residents have been instructed to leave everything behind, including their cars.
Some residents are already reporting breathing problems and believe that this isn’t the first time they’ve been exposed to asbestos at the complex.
Every time a unit is vacated, explained one resident, a contracting crew comes in and renovates. Often, they’ve done work on the old popcorn ceilings, which contain asbestos.
Diane Baker, whose friend has lived in the apartment complex for years, says the friend has been having severe problems with her asthma.
“She’s coughing uncontrollably. She can’t get it under control,” Baker said. “She’s been to the ER several times in the last several months.”
“We live in an area that has a lot of buildings that were built before 1970, I think,” said one woman who lives in the building. “A lot of them have also the popcorn ceilings.”
Managers at other nearby buildings claim to be aware of the presence of asbestos and note that they are dedicated to proper handling of the carcinogen.
Unfortunately, this wasn’t the case for the 15 residents who now must face the notion that they could one day wind up with a serious asbestos-related disease.
In the meantime, it is unclear as to when the displaced residents will be able to return home and whether or not their belongings will be salvageable.
Currently, they are being assisted by the local Red Cross, which has provided them with hotel vouchers.