Residents worry Murfreesboro home being demolished may contain asbestos

(Photo: WKRN)

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (WKRN) – Residents in a Murfreesboro neighborhood are concerned about the cloud of dust from the demolition of an old home.

They are worried that the house built in the 1920’s may contain asbestos.

It may not be anything residents can do and state law may be on the side of the homeowner.

In a neighborhood near downtown Murfreesboro, gentrification is underway.

The home at 1009 N. Church Street is currently being demolished to make way for two townhomes.

During demolition recently, a large cloud of dust filled the air.

(Photo: Submitted)

“As soon as the bucket would lay into it, we had almost these tornado types of wind that would pick up.” It was a windy day and you could see the debris in the air,” said concerned neighbor Chris Mabry.

Homeowners are fearful the old home may contain asbestos.

“This one in particular doesn’t seem to have any environmental control around it,” Mabry said. “It clearly has asbestos in it because it’s probably built after 1920 when every house use asbestos.”

A local realtor purchased an old home, built around the same time, across the street and flipped it.

He hired an environmental company to abate the property of asbestos.

The same is being done at the house next door.

“We could see tents up; we could see people in Hazmat suits,” Mabry said. “I mean, we knew it was done well for our health. We have a lot of children that play around here and you know we don’t need this stuff flying around in our community.”

Some of the neighbors are concerned about the elderly in the community and there is a man who is on oxygen.

(Photo: WKRN)

They’ve encouraged him anytime he sees demolition to use a mask.”

News 2 spoke with a representative of Blue Sky Construction which owns, and is demoing the home.

The rep said since he’s only tearing down one house, state law doesn’t require for it to be tested for asbestos or lead based paint.

That’s something neighbors didn’t want to hear.

“Perfect storm, bad lungs,” Mabry said.

The owner of the home was generous enough to let anyone who wanted to take anything like kitchen cabinets out of the home before he started tearing it down.

The owner said when demolition starts again, he will make sure workers spray the home with water to try and prevent the dust cloud.

Department of Environmental Conservation, or TDEC, requires asbestos and lead testing for commercial property and if two or more homes in the same area are being torn down.

“Asbestos fibers enter the body when a person inhales or ingests airborne particles that become embedded in the tissues of the respiratory or digestive systems,” according to the TDEC website. “Exposure to asbestos can cause disabling or fatal diseases such as asbestosis, an emphysema-like condition; lung cancer; mesothelioma, a cancerous tumor that spreads rapidly in the cells of membranes covering the lungs and body organs; and gastrointestinal cancer. The symptoms of these diseases generally do not appear for 20 or more years after initial exposure.”