EAST CLEVELAND, Ohio — Billy Reaves has lived in her East Cleveland Allandale Avenue neighborhood for 28-years, but now she's concerned about a potential asbestos hazard at an apartment demolition site on her street.
Reaves is worried the uncovered asbestos-contaminated demolition location could be an airborne hazard and told News 5 two weeks have gone by since the apartment building was taken down, but much of the debris still hasn't been removed from her neighborhood.
“Asbestos is airborne, so everybody in this area could get affected with it," Reaves said. “And they did not have this covered, they did not wet it down, which they should have done.”
“Two weeks, and that’s just too long, it puts everybody in danger on this street and in the surrounding area because it’s airborne. It should be officially monitored every time they do anything in the City of East Cleveland, and this is really because it’s so dangerous. This has been a hazard, there’s kids on this street, there’s adults on this street.”
Other homeowners living on the street like Clarence Brown and Bernadine Bowie are also worried the thin red caution tape won't be enough to keep children and teens from playing in the contaminated rubble.
“Whether we’re homeowners, renters or whatever, we all live here and we’re breathing in this," Bowie said. “And now you’re skeptical about sitting out on your porch because this stuff is so close, especially on a windy day like today.”
East Cleveland Councilwoman Patrica Blochowiak agreed more over-site is needed by her city in informing council members and neighborhoods about demolition projects, especially when lead and asbestos are an issue.
“So whether it’s lead, whether it’s asbestos, the city is not making sure that the contractors do what they’re supposed to do," Blochowiak said. "They’re rushing too much to get it done.”
News 5 contacted the East Cleveland building inspector about this case, but we're still waiting for a response. The East Cleveland Mayor's office told News 5 that the Cuyahoga Land Bank is responsible for the demolition site.
The Cuyahoga Land Bank told News 5 it believes it's following proper protocol, but said it contacted the demolition contractor, who is in the process of removing the debris and will work toward temporarily covering the open debris in the coming days.
Meanwhile, Reaves believes the open demolition site wouldn't be tolerated in other Northeast Ohio cities.
"I know in Shaker it wouldn’t, in Shaker they would have taken care of everything that was supposed to be done,” Reaves said. “The worst thing is the fact that it’s all open like this, and anybody could be susceptible to breathing it in."