Plans to pull down the old 14-story Sheraton Hotel in Gary, Indiana, are on hold after a new inspection report found the building still contains significant quantities of asbestos five years after the city spent federal grant money to remove it.
The hotel is a crumbling eyesore that city leaders want razed ahead of a planned urban renewal project. But there may be more than 60,000 square feet of asbestos still in the building, according to local news site GaryCommunity.com. The material remains despite hundreds of thousands of dollars in federal grants spent by the city five years ago on asbestos removal. At that time, the Indiana Department of Environmental Management said that 98 percent of the asbestos was removed.
However, a recent inspection by Soil and Material Engineers Inc. found that asbestos material remains in concrete ceiling seams, textured paint, floor tiles, electric fixtures, window frames, and the boiler’s fireproofing. According to the website Something Interesting, the structure was built as a Holiday Inn in 1968, near the height of asbestos usage in the United States. The hotel became a Sheraton several years later but it was never profitable. In 1985, it was closed.
The city will need to shell out as much as $1.3 million to remove or sheathe the crumbling asbestos to prevent it from becoming airborne and inhaled, according to GaryCommunity.com. Inhaling asbestos dust can lead to mesothelioma cancer. There are about 3,000 new cases of mesothelioma annually, according to the American Cancer Society.
James Hairless, a vice president and principal of Soil and Material Engineers, believes the original inspections failed to take into account the asbestos coating in the hotel’s exterior and an asbestos-containing filler material inside the seams of the concrete floor sections.
The city has asked the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency emergency response team to help in the asbestos removal.
Gary isn’t the only city dealing with asbestos-laden buildings. Many structures built from 1950-1980 are at risk for asbestos-containing products in their roofing, flooring, walls, insulation, pipes, and fireproofing.
If you or a loved one has been exposed to asbestos and diagnosed mesothelioma, contact Sokolove Law today for a free case evaluation and to learn if a mesothelioma attorney can help you.