Field and other wild fires certainly raise concern in the community, but that concern is typically geared toward protecting people, homes and nearby wildlife. A recent field fire in Ohio put the local community on much different alert. Local Environmental Protection Agency investigators were dispatched to the extinguished field fire in order to determine if asbestos exposure had occurred.
The blaze started on a man's personal property after he lit various trash on fire. The trash fire than spread to a nearby field, and an area fire department was called in to extinguish the flames. After containing and putting out the fire, fire fighters noticed that there were concerning items on the man's property. Various bags and drums were marked as containing both asbestos and other hazardous materials.
The Ohio EPA arrived on scene the following day. Investigators collected different samples from the fire and other areas on the man's property. The EPA plans to analyze the samples and ultimately determine if asbestos was burned during the field fire. The agency takes asbestos exposure seriously, noting the increased risk of lung disease from exposure to the toxic substance.
Currently, the Ohio EPA has not issued any health advisories or cautions, but that could change following the results of the sample. Inappropriate and irresponsible handling of dangerous materials can lead to unintended asbestos exposure within communities, placing otherwise innocent individuals at risk for developing life-altering diseases. In these instances, it is often possible to hold negligent parties responsible for damages caused by exposure to dangerous asbestos.
Source: wfmj.com, "Ohio EPA investigates possible asbestos discovery in Columbiana", March 25, 2016