Police officers and staff members at the Stamford, Connecticut Police Department are worried after asbestos was found at the police headquarters this week.
According to local reports, the first-floor ceilings at Stamford’s Bedford Street police headquarters are littered so badly with asbestos that officials turned off the air conditioning and circulation system in the building. Employees, including police officers, have no choice at this point but to wait it out in the hot building while details on abatement are being planned.
“There’s no air conditioning, no air movement — it’s not a great situation at all. We worry about what will happen on really hot days because the guys are perspiring greatly right now,” Police Chief Jon Fontneau said.
The asbestos was found during a routine upgrade of the building’s ventilation, heating, and air conditioner system. Although the 2nd floor of the building is unaffected, most of the first floor, including the gym area, contains plaster ceilings that were built with asbestos-containing materials (ACMs).
Shortly after the asbestos was detected, the city hired an industrial hygiene consultant to determine if the building was safe for occupancy. According to the findings, the building is safe for now as long as nothing is disturbed that would lead to asbestos fibers becoming airborne. Plans were originally made to move the office to a temporary building, but after the findings, city officials decided to allow the building to remain open.
In the meantime, a contractor is repairing parts of the building to make it as safe and comfortable as possible until an asbestos abatement project starts.
“We are waiting to hear further on the detailed plan and any time lines for the abatement process. Our primary concern is the safety of our personnel. We will work closely with the administration to ensure a safe, amicable resolution,” said Todd Labraico, president of the Stamford Police Association.
The police building opened its doors in 1955, during the time when asbestos was widely used in construction materials for its fire and heat-resistant properties. However, funding to build a new building for the police department has been denied several times. Instead, funds were allowed for renovations to the building, yet it still remains older and out-of-date. In addition, even though there is a small chance that employees may inhale asbestos while in the building, the hazards are still there. Recent studies have suggested that no amount of asbestos is safe. Even so, there are no plans at all to relocate employees to another location.
Keep in mind that if you or a loved one were exposed to asbestos due to the negligent behaviors of another party, you may entitled to damages for medical expenses, lost wages, pain, suffering, and much more. For more information, contact our experienced asbestos law firm today for a free, no-obligation case consultation.