Man started illegal fire, community suffered asbestos exposure

Asbestos is a highly toxic substance, which is why rules and regulations regarding its proper disposal are so incredibly important. Unfortunately, many South Carolina businessmen and women prefer to prioritize their own bottom lines over having to pay for the right methods of disposal. In a recent out-of-state incident, a man allegedly caused an entire community to suffer from asbestos exposure because of his actions.

Back in Feb. 2017, the business owner created an enormous mound full of brush waste and mobile homes. Reports indicate that the trash mound was approximately 20 feet tall, and contained at least five old mobile homes. The area’s fire chief had apparently already warned the man not to burn the old homes, who even asked the city for permission to do so but was ultimately denied.

Despite this, he set the pile of trash on fire at 3 a.m., perhaps expecting that it would burn off before the dawn. Unfortunately, the fire raged on for over a week. Inspectors from that state’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration witnessed the mound continuing to smolder through the end of March 2017. Samples of the debris were later collected and tested positive for asbestos. The businessman could now face of more than $100,000 in fines for the fire.

There is no safe level of asbestos exposure in humans, and the substance is known to cause cancer and other serious health issues. When the negligence of a person or business leads to unnecessary exposure, South Carolina victims can seek compensation for financial, emotional and medical damages through a civil lawsuit. However, since health problems can take years to develop, victims may want to keep careful records of medical tests and treatments as soon as they are made aware of the exposure.

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