A Winnipeg, Canada family is now homeless after a company botched an asbestos abatement job while renovating their home.
According to reports, Workman Industries was hired to do an asbestos remediation project on a home belonging to Rafaelita and Victor Cameron. Along with their daughter, Cherielyn, the couples live in the home off of Douglas Street with their son-in-law and 1-month-old granddaughter. Yet, because of the subpar work and the dangerous presence of open asbestos littered throughout the basement, the family is no longer safe in their own home
“There was open bags of asbestos. There was an air filtration machine running but with the hose running out to nowhere basically. The window was not open, so it was more like for show,” said the homeowners’ son, Jon Cameron.
Sarte Heating and Cooling was initally hired by the Camerons in order to replace an outdated boiler system with a new furnace. Yet, the heating and cooling company could not install the new, high-efficiency furnace until the old boiler was removed. In turn, Starte found Workman Industries and arranged for them to remove the boiler.
On August 7, Workman Industries began the process of removing the boiler, but right away, the family sensed red flags. Not only did the workers fail to wear the required safety equipment, but they also had no barriers to block off the asbestos from the basement, where the boiler was located, from entering other parts of the house.
“I said ‘Where’s the barrier? How come there’s no barrier?” said Rafaelita Cameron.
When she didn’t receive an adequate answer, Rafaelita Cameron contacted her son, Jon Cameron, who began to videotape the workers as they removed asbestos without properly covering and containing it.
“Pretty much just bare-handing these materials from the basement. I didn’t notice any masks. These guys were wearing T-shirts and shorts and jeans. There was nothing to indicate they were taking precautions in handling asbestos.” said Jon Cameron, who contacted the province shortly after.
The following morning, the company was ordered to stop work by the Workplace Safety and Health. Sarte Healing and Cooling also received orders to stop work on the upcoming job. The Workplace Safety and Health took pictures of several open bags of asbestos, left in the basement area. As a result, the family was informed the house was not habitable due to safety issues.
The owner of Sarte, Lito Mendoza, stated that he felt bad for the family and their current situation, yet the responsibility solely lies on Workman Industries. When local news station CBS inquired as to why Mendoza hired Workman Industries to remove the boiler, he stated that he had only worked with the company one time in the past, and the result from that job were successful. Mendoza also stated that he has offered the Cameron family $500 to help pay for temporary lodging and necessities.
Workman Industries didn’t return calls to local reporters. However, their website was still displaying a Certificate of Recognition (COR) Program. Yet, the COR association stated that although the company took a few classes, they never completed training and were never certified.
Meanwhile, the family is stuck without a home and everything that belongs to him.
“We have nothing. Everything’s in that house. It’s our home. We just want to go home,” Yabas said.
For more information about asbestos and how the harmful mineral has been linked to life-threatening illnesses, fill out our contact form today for a free Mesothelioma and Asbestos Guide. Our comprehensive guide offers invaluable details regarding mesothelioma detection, symptoms, treatment options, long-term outlook, and much more.
In addition, if you or a loved one have been injured by asbestos due to the negligence of another party, contact our leading mesothelioma law firm today for a free, no-obligation legal consultation.