BALTIMORE (WJZ)– Asbestos has been found on the Holiday Inn building in downtown Baltimore, after a steam pipe explosion last Tuesday.
Since the explosion both state officials and the company that owns the steam pipe, Veolia North America, said that air quality tests are normal, but asbestos has contaminated the side of the Holiday Inn.
The Maryland Department of Environment said workers found the cancer causing mineral in the buildings stucco. It can’t be cleaned.
The game plan now is to cover the building and keep it contained and keep the asbestos from going airborne.
“Yeah, that’s concerning,” said Gilgamesh Taggett, who stayed at the Holiday Inn.
He recently checked out of the Holiday Inn and thought he’d been sleeping next door to street construction.
“My father had asbestos poisoning from working construction when he was younger, so it’s quite shocking,” Taggett said.
The steam pipe exploded underground, sending a geyser of steam through the pavement and a layer of debris airborne, coating Eutaw street.
The Maryland Department of Environment said some of the dirt contained asbestos and some cars stuck behind the caution tape have since been totaled because of asbestos contamination.
Thirty-three cars were caught in the explosion and four tested positive for asbestos.
In a statement, MDE’s spokesperson wrote to WJZ:
“It is important to note that it is when asbestos fibers are released into the air that they become a health hazard… Perimeter air monitoring continues, and we have been told it shows no evidence of asbestos.”
Veolia has not said what caused the steam pipe explosion. Only that it is still under investigation.