Asbestos contamination concerns over factory fire north of Nelson, NZ

Asbestos contamination concerns over factory fire north of Nelson, NZ

After a suspicious building fire in Motueka, New Zealand, authorities are undertaking testing to determine the severity of asbestos contamination of nearby areas, and will remediate the site as required.

The fire at the former Philip Morris tobacco factory has not yet had a cause determined.

Tasman District Council regulatory services manager Adrian Humphries said that the testing that was currently underway would determine the spread of asbestos from the site, with explosions noted by firefighters which shot out chunks of potentially contaminated material.

The primary concern of investigators is to determine the nature of the material from the fire and its location, and for asbestos contractors to remove any hazardous material.

Wakat? Incorporation general manager of property Iain Sheves explained that the “focus is now on assisting FENZ with their investigation into the cause of the blaze, and also working with our contractors, WorkSafe and the Tasman District Council to devise a new plan to ensure the safety of the site and any ongoing site management requirements.”

The information for authorities noted that the risk to nearby residents was “extremely remote”, but residents of around 20 properties nearby had been visited by an environmental health officer and provided with advice.

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