On Tuesday 1 March 2022, as the old Wickham Wool Store went up in flames leaving asbestos debris falling from the plumes of smoke. The authorities were silent as to the risk of asbestos for many hours, with a significant delay in streets being blocked and residents being evacuated while emergency and other vehicles continued to drive through the impacted areas spreading fibres.
If residents find Asbestos in or around their property, we urge them not to touch it but take photographs and report it to the Environmental Protection Authority by phoning 131 555. Write down the date, time, and name of the person you spoke to and record any reference number if provided. Keep these records and any others you may receive, as they may be vital to proving your exposure to Asbestos in future.
The City of Newcastle on its website indicates Islington Park was cleaned by specialist asbestos crews and thereafter an “independent Licenced Asbestos Assessor inspected all areas of the park and found no visible asbestos remaining” and a clearance certificate was issued. We wonder if anyone has inspected trees in the impacted areas, especially as the Council’s website states: “It is possible for the occasional fragment to be reintroduced into the area from vehicles or falling from trees.” Despite cleaning being undertaken the risk from asbestos appears to remain.
Breathing in asbestos fibres can cause a variety of respiratory diseases (including asbestosis, lung cancer and mesothelioma). That risk increases depending on the type of asbestos exposure and with the number of fibres inhaled and the duration of exposure. The symptoms of these diseases do not usually appear until 20-30 years after the exposure.
We are also concerned that there may well be a significant impact on property owners whose properties were exposed, including the reduction in market value, the damage to property such as motor vehicles , vacuum cleaners and other equipment and possessions.
Given the above, we encourage anyone who may have been exposed to Asbestos as a result of the Wickham Wool Store fire to register their details on our website. Should it become necessary for those exposed to asbestos to claim compensation, we will be in a position to contact you and keep you updated as investigations unfold.
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Please explain how you have been affected by this incident, including what enquiries you have made, and the outcome of those enquiries to date.