Asbestos Causes Evacuation of Apartment Complex

Families that live in an apartment complex in New London, Wisconsin, near Green Bay, aren’t very happy about having to vacate their units just after the Christmas holidays. But the owners of the complex say there’s evidence of high levels of asbestos in several units at the Villa Apartments, making it necessary for nearly a dozen families to spend the holidays readying for a temporary move and finding a new place to live.

According to a story aired on WBAY-TV Green Bay, the 11 families that live in the affected units were told by city inspectors earlier this week that they must leave their apartments no later than January 7th, 2008. Residents were none too pleased at the bad timing.

“I was kind of shocked because I only got three weeks’ notice to find a different shelter, a different house to live in, so I was a little bit upset,” Sharon Blink said.

City inspectors told the news station that the landlord was attempting to make repairs to the heating system, and in doing so removed pipes containing asbestos. As a result, the building is now contaminated.

“[The landlord’s] position was, if you don’t change the boiler, which is the steam system, he didn’t think he needed any permits, but as soon as he started cutting on 1930 pipes, which were asbestos pipes, I think that caused the problem,” Sandy Kurth, a former complex manager, explained.

Tenants will be allowed to move back within 30 to 60 days. In the meantime, they were advised to “decontaminate their clothing, furniture, and other personal possessions.”

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