No asbestos found in air near Clemens House, EPA says -

No asbestos found in air near Clemens House, EPA says

Posted: Updated:
Skyzoom4 over the Clemens House after a fire Wednesday morning (Credit: KMOV) Skyzoom4 over the Clemens House after a fire Wednesday morning (Credit: KMOV)

ST. LOUIS ( – Air samples taken by the EPA near the historic James L. Clemens house tested negative for asbestos, the agency said.

However, Wednesday morning, the EPA confirmed asbestos was found in dust and debris samples taken earlier in the week from debris near the north St. Louis home. Over the weekend, residents near the Clemens house said they were still finding debris in their yard. 

The City of St. Louis released the following statement after the EPA’s results were released on Wednesday:

The EPA on Tuesday discovered asbestos in samples of debris taken near the site of the Clemens House fire. As a next step, the EPA, in coordination with the City’s Health Department, will conduct a Health Impact Assessment in the surrounding neighborhood.

The assessment will include air monitoring to determine if there is any airborne asbestos.

The EPA recommends that residents not disturb any debris from the fire until health officials conduct further tests and determine the best way to clean up the debris.

City officials are working with the EPA on an action plan and will keep the public informed as the Health Impact Assessment proceeds.

Initial results on air testing were released Thursday. The agency said it will continue to monitor the air near the site through the end of the week

The home, which sustained significant damage during a July 12 fire, was abandoned for years. Paul McKee, who owns the property, also owns several other properties in north St. Louis.

McKee released the following statement regarding the findings Wednesday: 

Since the unfortunate and tragic burning of the historic Clemens House, Northside Regeneration (“NSR”) and our insurance companies have been hard at work to:

1.            Assess the damage;

2.            Stabilize the structure and site;

3.            Cooperate with the Aldermen Bosley, the City and the EPA;

4.            Cooperate with fire investigators who also believe the site is too dangerous to enter; and

5.            Assemble demolition proposals to stabilize and clean-up the site.

Both the City and EPA have been in close contact with NSR, but NSR’s insurance company would not permit access because they believe the site is unsafe.  However, we expect EPA to be on-site today.

NSR hired Lafser & Associates several years ago to remove all the friable asbestos from Clemens; this work was completed and on file with the City Health Department.  Roofing material, like the “tarpaper” materials commonly found in older structures, did test positive for asbestos; after careful consideration, it was decided not to remove this material due to concerns that the removal and resulting weather exposure would further impair the structural safety of  the already delicate Clemens’ wood structure. 

The EPA is planning to install air-monitoring equipment July 19th and NSR has offered to permit them on any of NSR properties!

Once demolition bids and process are finalized with the insurance company and City, NSR will authorize them to proceed and stabilize and clean up this historic site.

Copyright 2017 KMOV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved

Powered by Frankly