Environmental concerns raised after Rail Yards fire | KOB 4

Environmental concerns raised after Rail Yards fire

Brittany Costello
April 25, 2018 07:03 AM

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – Plumes of smoke were seen across the metro Monday after a fire sparked at the Albuquerque Rail Yards. Did those plumes contain more than just smoke and debris?


The Rail Yards is an extremely old building. It's so old, according to documents, that portions of the window glaze even contained asbestos.

Some are concerned about a potential exposure. Blame it on his building inspector background, but James Fischer's first thoughts were not of the destruction of this hidden gem, but what was going up in the air.

"My first thought was 'why are they not making the public aware?'" he said. "It's used as an insulating factor. There are many things, even brakes on vehicles years ago."

He's talking about asbestos. According to re-development plans on the city's website, dated back to 2013, portions of the window glazing on the rail yards contained it.

"It's going to be in other parts of the building," he said.

The city has not confirmed or denied that microscopic asbestos fibers were mixed among the smoke, but an Albuquerque Fire Department spokesperson says the "Environment Health Department determined a health alert was not necessary."

"In order to get asbestos-related troubles you have to get exposed a little bit longer than a brief period of time," said Osman Dokmeci, an allergist-immunologist.

The AFD spokesperson said as for the firefighters, "they enter every fire prepared to face toxic air." But as crews continue that cleanup process, they are asking residents to steer clear.

As for the investigation into this fire, officials say it is ongoing. In the case of someone intentionally setting a fire, that person could face anywhere between a fine and second-degree felony.


Brittany Costello

Copyright 2018 KOB-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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