Kevin Killeen (@KMOXKilleen)By Kevin Killeen

ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – Contractors supervised by the EPA are cleaning up asbestos from streets and alleys near the old Clemens mansion in north St. Louis, after a fire earlier this month sent ash aloft for blocks and blocks.

The streets and alleys are just the first step, says health department spokesman Harold Bailey.

033 Asbestos Clean Up Underway After Clemens Mansion Fire

(Kevin Killeen/KMOX)

“The plan is to work along the streets and the alleys, and as they get permission to access people’s property, they’ll go onto private property,” Bailey said.

Asbestos exposure has been linked to cancer and lung disease. So far, though, Bailey says, no airborne asbestos fibers have been detected in nine EPA air monitors set up after the fire.

The July 12 fire in the 1800 block of Cass sent smoke and soot in a northerly direction for several blocks. The exact size of the potential exposure area has not been determined, but it’s expected to expand, Bailey said.

Already, he says, nearby residents are complaining about ashen debris found in their yards. 034 Asbestos Clean Up Underway After Clemens Mansion Fire

“People can look for charred material in their yards,” he said. “Some people say there’s material in their trees, in their gutters.”

Don’t touch the debris, or try to clean it up yourself, Bailey warns.

A health department guideline being sent to residents advises them not to cut their lawns or stir up household dust until their property can be tested. The guidelines say it is OK to water your lawn, as that would help prevent any material from getting airborne.

The number to call to have your property tested for asbestos debris is 314-657-1492.

The mansion is owned by developer Paul McKee, who is expected to pay the bill for the cleanup. The cause of the fire is under investigation.


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