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Neighbors Furious Home With Asbestos Was Demolished Without Safety Precautions

WILMINGTON (CBS) – There are health concerns in a Wilmington neighborhood after a construction crew started tearing down a house filled with asbestos, without following the proper safety procedures.

The issue was so bad, the Department of Environmental Protection was summoned to oversee things. When neighbors complained, it did bring about change.

Dave Norton worries about his granddaughter and his neighbors after the demolition triggered a cloud of asbestos dust.

Wilmington asbestos
Construction crew demolishes Wilmington home (WBZ-TV)

"I just was infuriated that the town would allow this to happen," Norton said.

He's talking about Muse Avenue in Wilmington where a century old house with asbestos siding is now a pile of rubble and a state approved firm has finally been brought in to remove the known carcinogen.

"This plume of asbestos and stuff blew in my yard," Norton said. "What do I do?"

Langone Brothers was granted a permit to demolish the house in late August and began to knock it down the very next day. When neighbors complained to the state, the DEP shut the project down within hours.

Asbestos cleanup
Construction crew cleans up asbestos at Wilmington home (WBZ-TV)

"Unfortunately this gentleman chose to try to take some shortcuts," said Wilmington Town Manager Jeff Hull.

Contractor Jonathan Langone didn't want to talk to WBZ-TV about it, but the town says he initially took zero steps to contain the cancer-causing dust.

"It seems to me that the gentleman was expecting that he would be able to just do the work, nobody would make an issue about it and he would save a little money," Hull said.

But when the state put a hold on the demolition, the town admitted its regulations contained no requirement that contractors prove they're tackling the asbestos removal safely, relying solely on "good-faith."

"I made the assumption that the town was going to take care of us," Norton said. "It was a bad assumption."

But he has sparked change, specific language is now in the works mandating contractors to get town approval for their asbestos game plan before touching anything.

The town has apologized to residents and says Langone may face both local and state fines.

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