Asbestos found in building destroyed in Forrest City fire
By Kendall Owens, Times-Herald of Forrest City - bio
FORREST CITY -
Debris removal from the site of the Front Street fire will require companies specializing in asbestos removal after trace amounts of the chemical were found in samples tested from one of the buildings.
Forrest City Code Enforcement officer Connie Muqtasid said samples were recently taken from the property owned by Dr. Xavier Haymer. Haymer owned three of the buildings, located at 101 through 105 Front Street, that were destroyed during the fire on Sunday, May 27.
"Dr. Haymer allowed the city to take the samples from his property. The building at the intersection of North Washington and Front Street was asbestos free, but trace amounts were found in the debris from the other two buildings," said Muqtasid.
Muqtasid said she is in the process of contacting Haymer with the results and sending a letter that will spell out what must be done to remove the debris.
"I have contacted ADEQ (Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality) and they have said that all of the debris will have to be removed by asbestos specialists," she said.
Testing has also been done on property at 117 S. Washington, the former offices of Sharpe, Beavers, Cline and Wright, but Muqtasid said she was not aware of the test results.
The third property owner, NewG Holdings, LLC, which is based in West Memphis, and owned buildings at 509 and 511 Front Street, has also been contacted and opted to have his property independently tested, according to Muqtasid.
"We have a process outlined in the city codes which sets the deadlines for everything and we're going to follow that process. Hopefully, we won't have too many issues to deal with down there," said Muqtasid.
All five buildings were destroyed by a fire that lasted for several days. State fire investigators were not able to determine what caused the fire.
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