Recycling plant owners to pick up asbestos after fire - 13 WTHR Indianapolis

Recycling plant owners to pick up asbestos after fire

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INDIANAPOLIS -

A week after the massive recycling plant fire, there's still smoke coming from the remnants of the building.  But the smoke and fire aren't what people are worried about today.  Now they are concerned about particles of asbestos that are littering the nearby neighborhoods.

It looks like white and black paper strewn all over the near west side. And the people that live just a few blocks from the Belmont Avenue warehouse fire have been picking up what they can.

"It was all over the yard - everywhere in the front yard.  We cut it all up today," one resident said.

Paper-like remnants are held together by asbestos. When the warehouse was built, asbestos tiles were the best thing going. No one knew the hazards of asbestos until years later. Now that hazard is littered across miles of Indianapolis.  We found debris 5 miles away on College Avenue.

One lady said, "It is still around... I mean there is a lot of it around on the ground, but the smell is still pretty bad." 

The Marion County Health Department has ordered the owner of the recycling business to get the asbestos picked up. 

Richard Griffith is training employee's of the warehouse to do that job.  He is the president of Workplace Safety and Health and an expert on asbestos. It is one thing to pick up after a fire, it is a whole new ball game when dealing with millions of burnt asbestos particles.

"Like I said before, a fiber that can be suspended in the air for many hours is one of the reasons asbestos is very toxic."

Griffith said there is indisputable proof that asbestos will cause cancer. Who will get it and when depends on the person and exposure to asbestos.

And the question lingering in the neighborhoods that are littered with asbestos - "When will the debris be cleaned up?"

"There are millions and billions of asbestos in the air.  This is what you can see.  What we can't see is what is gonna hurt us." added one concerned resident.

If you find asbestos, wet it down, put on gloves and put on mask before you attempt to pick it up yourself.  Or you can just wait until crews begin scouring the neighborhoods and come around and pick it up for you.

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