Health notice issued to owner of Belmont Ave. warehouse - 13 WTHR Indianapolis

Health notice issued to owner of Belmont Ave. warehouse

Updated:
Peter O'Connor, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms Peter O'Connor, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms
INDIANAPOLIS -

As investigators begin the painstaking task for digging through tons of debris at the Belmont Ave. warehouse fire scene, the Indianapolis Fire Department is trying to locate inspection reports for the building.

IFD released correspondence between building owner Keith Sharp and the inspector from 2007, but they cannot find the inspection reports for the building since then. Over the last few years, the records have been physically relocated, and they've also switched from paper to electronic format. Officials are in the process of looking through storage areas and boxes for the reports.

At the fire scene, as investigators begin to dig through the debris, their first chore is to remove tons of steel girders that have fallen down. The girders can obstruct the investigation and there is also the danger of them falling on the workers.

"The process is kind of akin to peeling an onion. We first examine the outer layer for evidence of the origin and cause of the fire, and we remove a layer of debris and then examine that layer and we keep continuing on until we're down to where we believe the origin of the fire. Along the way, we're examining all possible causes of the fire which will include both accidental causes as well as incendiary or arson-related causes," said Peter O'Connor, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms.

To protect themselves from asbestos found inside the building, investigators are wearing respirators and protective coveralls. That will slow down the investigation. Given the heat today, there will be mandatory work breaks so that no one is overcome by high temperatures.

Investigators don't expect to be done until late next week.

Health notice issued

The Marion County Public Health Department has issued a notice of violation to the owner of a warehouse Thursday, due to asbestos found in material released during the fire.

The notice orders Sharp to remove and properly dispose of materials spread by the fire on Belmont Avenue Saturday. The department says Sharp violated three codes of the Health and Hospital Corporation of Marion County. Those codes address the asbestos found in the building and materials containing asbestos discovered outside the building's property after the fire.

Sharp is now required to hire a qualified professional to collect and dispose of the asbestos found on both public and private property as a result of the fire, or face possible fines and court action.

Health officials continue to remind residents not to disturb any remaining debris from the fire.

"Touching the material, cutting grass or walking on areas near any material could release harmful fibers into the air," said Dana Reed Wise, Chief, Bureau of Environmental Health at the Marion County Public Health Department.

Those who wish to pick up the material themselves should first wet it with water, then place it in a sealed bag until it can be collected by a qualified professional.

Residents with questions about the fire debris, or who have to schedule a pick-up of hazardous material from the fire, can call a special phone number set up at 221-2159, starting at 8 a.m. on Friday. The phone line will be manned during business hours, with voice mail available after hours.

Related:

EPA: No asbestos fibers in air samples from Belmont Ave. fire

Asbestos found at Belmont Ave. fire scene

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