Tenants Still Kept Out of Asbestos-Laced Chicago High-Rise

Tenants at Chicago’s historic Pittsfield Building, located on the city’s famed Loop, are still awaiting word on when they can return to their offices following a rushed evacuation due to the discovery of asbestos.

A story on ABC7 Chicago states that a month has now passed since the tenants which include jewelers, clothiers, doctors, and dentists were given just minutes to leave the building. Most weren’t able to grab computers, records, or other items important to maintaining their businesses.

Dr. Gary Grygotis has a dental practice on one of nine floors that were found to be riddled with asbestos. He estimates that his practice has lost about $100,000 thus far and is frustrated that he’s unable to retrieve his laptop computer, which contains patient records.

“They didn’t say how long we’d be out — whether it would be a day, two days, a week. We had no way of knowing,” said Grygotis.

The Illinois Department of Health sent inspectors to the building last month, acting on a tip that the old high-rise contained large amounts of exposed asbestos. A Department of Health spokesperson says authorities cannot allow any items to be removed from offices on contaminated floors because computers, patient files and other items may now be unhealthy because of their exposure to asbestos.

“I appreciate the Illinois Department of Health evacuating us, but this is still a sick building, it’s a remarkable building but it’s had its day and there’s asbestos still in it,” said John O’Connell, another Pittsfield Building tenant.

The building management team refused to comment on the progress of the clean-up and tenants are being told to check a Web site for updates. No return date has been set at this time, but late last week, the department agreed to try to help some tenants retrieve essential items.

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