Disturbed Asbestos at Michigan Storage Facility

A case of possible asbestos contamination at a storage facility in Michigan has left some customers in limbo while abatement consultants assess the full extent of the problem.

The presence of asbestos at the site was confirmed earlier this month at Second Street Storage in K.I. Sawyer, a former military base in Northern Michigan. As reported in The Mining Journal, the asbestos was discovered by the building’s owners, the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians, when they inspected the property after the tenant fell into arrears on rental payments and taxes.

On inspection, tribal officials discovered a piece of pipe-fitting tape thought to contain asbestos on the floor of one of the buildings at the site. The presence of the toxic material was confirmed through testing, according to The Mining Journal. The facility was built in 1956 and used as hangars by the U.S. Air Force, which owned the property until 1995.

Asbestos was widely used in building materials in the 1950s as builders took advantage of what they believed at the time to be a safe, versatile, inexpensive, and fire-retardant material. It was used heavily until the 1970s when its true dangers became widely known. Exposure to asbestos can cause a number of serious and fatal illnesses, including mesothelioma and lung cancer.

Tribal officials must now assume that asbestos could be located throughout the property, and they have hired a licensed consultant to assess the extent of the problem and the steps needed to remedy it. Without proper remediation, the tribe could face large fines.

The tribe notified the Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration and is keeping the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality – which addresses asbestos issues on behalf of the EPA – updated on the situation.

In the meantime, customers who own the boats, recreational vehicles, and other items sitting in storage will have to wait for the asbestos to be removed before they can safely access their belongings.

If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with mesothelioma or any other asbestos-related illness, contact Sokolove Law today for a free case evaluation to see if an asbestos attorney can help you.