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Asbestos released into the air after dangerous fire

Many buildings around North Carolina were built using products that contained asbestos. So even though it was not widely used after the 1980s, it still exists in many homes and buildings today. It is in the roof, the insulation, plumbing and even floor tiles. But too many property owners assume that asbestos poses no threat if it is not undisturbed. But there is still a very serious risk associated with having asbestos on a property.

People may be aware of just how dangerous asbestos can be when it is friable, which means that it can be easily crumbled and released into the air. People breathe in these fibers and they can develop a painful and devastating illness caused by exposure to the asbestos. But even though asbestos may be left intact for long periods of time, ignoring the problem can be deadly if a building is damaged by weather, construction or fire.

Recently, a warehouse fire demonstrated how quickly and easily it can be for asbestos to go from relatively safe to extremely toxic to a person's health. The building contained products made with asbestos, much like other buildings do. But a fire broke out and the building went up in flames, along with all the materials inside. Reports indicate that the air around the site of the fire tested positive for asbestos.

A serious concern that officials in the area are facing is the incomplete combustion of the burning materials. Asbestos was generally used because of its fire-resistant qualities, so even though it may be protecting pipes, roofs and other materials from burning completely, the asbestos particles can still be released into the air. 

Even though asbestos may not pose an immediate threat to people if it left undisturbed, it is not something that should be ignored. Many responsible building owners take steps to have the asbestos removed safely before it becomes a health hazard, but not all building owners take these precautions. A person who has developed an asbestos-related illness may want to speak with an attorney to determine whether or not a negligent property owner may be to blame for exposing people to the toxic fiber. 

Source: TheIndyChannel, "Fire debris from Van Buren warehouse blaze tests positive for asbestos," Ebone Monet, Sept. 11, 2013

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