Owner of Fire-damaged Oregon Hotel Fined for Asbestos Violations

by Sokolove Law

Nearly one year after a massive fire destroyed a well-known Oregon hotel, the hotel’s owner faces a $29,000 fine for failing to properly deal with asbestos at the site.

According to Oregon Public Broadcasting (OPB), the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) issued the fine to the owner of the Thunderbird Hotel on Hayden Island, which burned down in a five-alarm fire last September. The DEQ hit Thunderbird Hotel LLC with the penalties because the company had employees or other workers demolish the damaged buildings instead of hiring a licensed asbestos contractor.

The company was aware that there was asbestos on site prior to the fire. According to the DEQ, an asbestos survey performed in 2006 had revealed the hotel’s buildings contained asbestos in flooring, insulation, fireproofing, roofing, and other materials.

The company may have been attempting to save costs, suggested the DEQ. “By having workers do the demolition, rather than having an asbestos abatement contractor come in and remove all of that asbestos – the companies saved around $8,000,” the DEQ’s Esther Westbrook told OPB.

The demolition failed to comply with applicable asbestos regulations and likely caused the release of asbestos fibers into the air, according to the DEQ. During and after the demolition, asbestos-containing waste materials were openly accumulated at the property.

The negligent actions of the Thunderbird Hotel’s owners put not only the workers at risk but the public as well. When asbestos is disturbed, microscopic asbestos fibers are released into the air where they are easily inhaled. Fibers can then become embedded in the lungs and other internal organs where they can cause scarring, which can lead to serious health problems such as mesothelioma, a rare and deadly cancer.

If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with mesothelioma, you may be entitled to compensation from the companies whose products are responsible for your asbestos exposure. Contact Sokolove Law today to find out more about your legal options. Don’t wait – request a free consultation by filling out the contact form on this page.