Colorado health officials say they’re looking into asbestos contamination at an apartment development and warn the property owner could face fines for violations.
Over 100 residents of the apartment buildings in southeast Colorado Springs have been told to leave in recent weeks, according to Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment officials.
Making matters worse, residents who left said looters broke in and took belongings they left behind. A Colorado Springs Gazette reporter witnessed a person break a window Friday at the buildings owned by Denver-based Slipstream Properties.
Attempts by the newspaper to reach company officials for comment were unsuccessful.
Exposure to even minute amounts of asbestos can cause lung cancer and other deadly respiratory conditions.
Slipstream Properties bought the buildings in 2018, raising hope that conditions in the apartments would improve after years of disrepair and code violations.
The asbestos problem arose during recent renovations. Renovation work can disturb asbestos, which decades ago was used in a variety of building materials including insulation.
“We’re trying to understand how widespread this is, how many apartment complexes there are,” said Curtis Burns, field operations unit supervisor for the state health department’s asbestos unit.
The building owners could face fines of $25,000 per day of noncompliance with asbestos-handling regulations, Burns said.
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