Firefighters and an engine are being moved out of a West End Newburgh, New York firehouse after asbestos-containing debris was found in the building. According to Department of Labor code, the firehouse poses “an imminent danger to the health and safety of the public or an asbestos-related risk to the health and safety of the public from release of airborne asbestos fibers.”
Firefighters at the West End firehouse will work out of the main firehouse while the city conducts more tests and determines the scope of the abatement of the carcinogenic material.
A contractor was hired to investigate mold and air-quality concerns at the firehouse. While there, he discovered asbestos debris in the plaster coating on a kitchen wall, joint compound on the wall of a first-floor stairwell, and plaster coating on a column outside a second-floor bathroom, according to a report by Quality Environmental Solutions & Technologies Inc.
Asbestos is a mineral that was commonly used in building materials. Its use was restricted in the 1980s. But asbestos-containing products can still be found in older structures. Asbestos poses health risks when it is disturbed and its fibers become airborne. The mineral can cause the incurable lung disease asbestosis, lung cancer and mesothelioma, a rare but deadly form of cancer that develops in the lining of the lungs, abdomen and other internal organs.
Fire Chief Bill Horton told The Times Herald-Record that he hopes to get the firefighters back on the West End soon. The main firehouse is on the East Side. “It’s safer for the city as a whole to be on both sides of the city, not one.”