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Construction Violations Released Asbestos Into Denver Apartments

DENVER (CBS4) - Steve and Kim Weiner are so afraid of the health conditions in their apartment they won't even let family help them move out.

"They want to come in and help pack. And I don't want anybody to help us pack," Kim Weiner said.

They're moving because asbestos particles and fibers went airborne recently when construction workers removed paneling on windows at various points in the building.

"As they pulled that fiberboard off, they damaged that material and potentially released asbestos fibers," Bill Benerman of the Denver Department of Environmental Health said.

Dangerous levels of asbestos, which can cause cancer, were found at several points in the building. Health officials said contamination is limited to just a few units, but many residents have said the managers' handling of the situation has been enough for them to leave.

The building, located at 330 Acoma St. in the Baker neighborhood, is owned by Maxx Properties. The company did not return CBS4's calls for comment. It's unclear if the company or its contractor is to blame.

Witnesses say construction workers were not wearing protective gear. The Denver Health Department issued a cease and desist order on the construction after review indicated dozens of violations where corners were cut.

One of the biggest violations happened when regulators were never approached about permits to remove asbestos.

An investigation is underway to determine fault. Health officials are investigating what fines may apply.

A dumpster containing the asbestos near the building has been sealed.

The Weiners said they plan to sue for negligence.

"Asbestos, I know, affects people years down the road," Kim Weiner said. "We may not be around, but there are a lot of children that live in this building. There's young adults in this building."

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