Pensacola is one of Florida’s oldest cities and has a long tradition of being a Navy town that dates as far back as 1825. Like many communities in the state of Florida, Pensacola is not a heavily industrialized city and depends on tourism and the nearby Pensacola Naval Air Station to drive its economy. The city’s longevity, as well as its status as a military town, connects Pensacola to the nation’s asbestos exposure problem. Many veterans and residents of Pensacola have been diagnosed with asbestos-related illnesses, including malignant mesothelioma and asbestosis.
If you or a loved one have been diagnosed with mesothelioma, asbestos-related lung cancer, or asbestosis, you may be entitled to substantial compensation. Fill out our form to receive our free Financial Compensation Packet. Our packet is loaded with information on leading mesothelioma attorneys in Pensacola, how to file a claim for asbestos trust funds, how to get paid in 90 days, and more.
Naval Air Station Pensacola
The Pensacola area is nicknamed “The Cradle of Naval Aviation” because the U.S. Navy established its flight school for naval aviators in 1913. Officially named Naval Air Station Pensacola, the base is located close to Warrington, Florida, 6 miles to the southwest of the city of Pensacola. The air station provides initial primary instruction for every Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard pilot and Naval Flight Officer. The base also provides advanced training for most Naval Flight Officers, and is best known as the home of the Navy’s Blue Angels demonstration team.
The present air station and other facilities are located on the site of the old Pensacola Naval Base, which was established in 1825. Many of the Navy’s early steam-powered vessels were among the first American military ships to use heat- and fire-resistant parts made from asbestos in engines, fittings, and insulation.
Large-scale use of asbestos in naval construction was intended to make Navy warships and other vessels safer for their crews. Consequently, from the middle of the 19th Century until the early 1980s, most of the ships based at or passing through the Pensacola area contained large amounts of asbestos.
In addition, asbestos was used in the construction industry to make building materials fireproof or more resilient. Many companies, including Johns-Manville and W.R. Grace, manufactured construction-related products that used asbestos as either the main ingredient or as an additive.
These products included roofing tiles, vinyl flooring, insulation, steam pipes, water heater valves, and other components which need to be resistant to fire, heat, or electrical currents. These asbestos-containing materials (ACMs) were used extensively when NAS Pensacola was established in 1913.
All of the original structures built for the flight school, including hangars, repair shops, administration buildings, and on-base housing contained some form of asbestos. Although many of these facilities have been torn down or have been part of the Navy’s asbestos abatement program during periodic renovation projects, thousands of military personnel and civilian employees were exposed to asbestos throughout much of Pensacola’s modern history.
Other Major Pensacola Job Sites Linked to Asbestos Exposure
In addition to the aviation-related facilities at NAS Pensacola, asbestos exposure occurred at the Pensacola Shipyard and the James F. Crist Generating Plant.
The Pensacola Shipyard was destroyed by retreating Southern forces during the Civil War, but asbestos had been in use by both the Union and Confederate Navies. When the Navy established the air station and pilot training school in the early part of the 20th Century, some of the former Naval Yard’s grounds were contaminated with asbestos fibers.
The James F. Crist Generating Plant, which is presently owned and operated by Gulf Power, is a coal-powered power plant with a generating capacity of 970,000 kilowatts. It began operations in early 1945 to provide more electricity to NAS Pensacola during the last months of World War II.
Like all electricity-producing facilities built before 1980, the James F. Crist plant contained large amounts of asbestos in many of its components and in work benches, fire doors, and protective clothing made from asbestos cloth.
The Crist generating plant has had asbestos-related legal issues. In 2009, four years after former Crist employee Woodrow McBride died of lung cancer after working in various asbestos-containing electrical plants, a jury awarded his widow Betsy $1 million in damages. Mrs. McBride sued the James F. Crist Generating Plant and the Smith Power Plant in Southport. In her complaint, she stated that her late husband’s illness was caused by exposure to asbestos when he was an employee there between 1968 and 1996.
Like many communities on Florida’s Gulf Coast, Pensacola’s economy is driven by the tourism industry. It is not a major manufacturing hub like the nearby shipbuilding city of Mobile, Alabama. Nevertheless, due to the pervasive use of asbestos-containing materials by construction companies, transportation enterprises, and other industries, there are many job sites in Pensacola where asbestos exposure took place. These job sites include:
- Beulah Elementary
- Pleasant Grove Elementary
- Booker T. Washington High School
- Escambia High School
- J.M. Tate High School
- Pensacola Catholic High School
- Pensacola Christian Academy
- Pine Forest High School
Colleges and Universities
- Pensacola Christian College
- Pensacola State College
- University of West Florida
- Baptist Hospital
- Naval Hospital Pensacola
- Sacred Heart Health System
- West Florida Hospital
- Escambia Chemical Company
- Gulf Power Company
- International Paper – Pensacola Mill
- Southern Utilities Company
Asbestos-Related Cancer Treatment Centers
In Pensacola, patients with mesothelioma or other asbestos-related cancers can seek treatment at Sacred Heart Cancer Center, a certified member of the MD Anderson Cancer Network. Sacred Heart Cancer Center provides a wide variety of cancer treatment options, including surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy.
Sacred Heart Cancer Center
1545 Airport Blvd, Suite 3000
Pensacola, FL 32504
Legal Assistance in Pensacola
If you or a loved one have mesothelioma, asbestos-related lung cancer, or asbestosis, keep in mind that you may qualify for significant compensation. Remember to fill out our from to get your free Financial Compensation Packet, with information on top asbestos and mesothelioma lawyers in your area. For questions and assistance, feel free to contact us at 800-793-4540.