Neighbors fear asbestos in house’s rubble – QNS.com

Neighbors fear asbestos in house’s rubble

By Ayala Ben-Yehuda

The presence of asbestos in the rubble of a demolished house in Bayside had neighbors worried about the toxic substance blowing through their neighborhood, but the Department of Environmental Protection said the site did not pose any danger.

According to a neighbor, the house was demolished about two weeks ago.

Natalie Millner, a spokeswoman for the DEP, said the contractor hired to demolish the house at 28-45 212th St. was not licensed to deal with the asbestos present in the house’s shingles. The agency sent an inspector after complaints came in about the demolition, Millner said.

“We issued a violation because there was asbestos and we contacted the owner,” Millner said. “We advised him that before any further work could go on, he would have to hire a licensed asbestos contractor, which he has done.”

“There is no public health hazard,” Millner added.

Finance Department records identify the owner of the property as Leponto Realty LLC. The company’s president, Ilias Theodoropoulos, could not be reached for comment.

The two-story colonial house was demolished about two weeks ago, said Paul Sallestro, who lives on the quiet block.

Sallestro was concerned about an asbestos warning sign he said DEP put on the wooden fence surrounding the rubble, a sign he alleged that the property’s owner had repeatedly taken down.

“We have young children,” Sallestro said. “The owner keeps taking down the sign that DEP puts up for warning, and it’s getting a little out of hand here.”

The TimesLedger was not able to independently verify that a sign had been removed.

He also expressed concern about construction dust from the site that had accumulated on the block and about the rubble not being immediately contained.

“Right now the whole block is facing an area that is asbestos-contaminated,” Sallestro said.

Millner of the DEP said that not all the construction debris contained asbestos, known as a carcinogenic fire retardant.

“It’s not a pile of asbestos,” she said of the property.

Reach reporter Ayala Ben-Yehuda by e-mail at Timesledger@aol.com or call 718-229-0300, Ext. 146.

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