Residents Asked to Use Call-In Line to Report Debris from Belmont Ave. Fire; Recovery Efforts Continue

June 28, 2013

INDIANAPOLIS – The Marion County Public Health Department is asking for continued help from the public to locate debris from the recent warehouse fire at 220 S. Belmont Ave. Teams from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and a contractor hired by the building’s owner are recovering asbestos-containing material spread by the fire that started on June 15. Asbestos was found in debris samples recovered by the Marion County Public Health Department shortly after the fire.

Recovery crews have focused efforts on areas with the largest concentration of debris, mostly within approximately one mile of the fire site. However, smaller debris has been recovered in areas to the northeast of this target area.

Because of the potential health concerns with handling asbestos-containing material, the health department is asking residents to not touch or dispose of debris themselves. Anyone finding debris from the fire is encouraged to call a special phone line set up by the Marion County Public Health Department, 317-221-2159. Callers should leave a message that includes their name, phone number and the location of the debris. A trained professional will pick up and properly dispose of the material. Nearly 40 calls have been made to the call-in line since it was established on June 21.

“It is important that the public does not disturb the material, causing it to break into smaller pieces,” said Dana Reed Wise, bureau chief, Environmental Health at the Marion County Public Health Department. “We discourage the cutting of grass or using a leaf blower or broom where material is present. This can cause harmful asbestos fibers to be released into to air, creating a health hazard.”
The goal of this recovery effort is to reduce exposure to asbestos, said Reed Wise. “Proper collection and disposal of the material is the best option.”

Although the handling of this material is discouraged, those who do should wet it down with water, place it into a plastic bag and put a little more water in the bag to keep the material wet. Store the bag in a safe place and call 317-221-2159 to have it picked up. Anyone handling the material should immediately wash their hands and face.

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Media Contact:
Curt Brantingham
Media/Public Information Coordinator
317-221-2316 (o) │ 317-525-7450 (c)