Asbestos alert in town after blaze

A PRIMARY school was closed yesterday after a nearby fire caused its premises to be covered in asbestos-contaminated ash.And last night local residents were warned to keep their windows closed, to rewash any clothes hanging at the time of the blaze and to wash their fruit and vegetables.

By Roddy Ashworth

A PRIMARY school was closed yesterday after a nearby fire caused its premises to be covered in asbestos-contaminated ash.

And last night local residents were warned to keep their windows closed, to rewash any clothes hanging at the time of the blaze and to wash their fruit and vegetables.

The blaze broke out on Sunday night at a pet shop on Main Road, Dovercourt, billowing ash over the neighbouring area, including the All Saints Primary School site next door.


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Yesterday experts confirmed that asbestos was present in the ash, but stressed it was white asbestos, which is the lowest risk form of the potentially fatal substance.

They added that most of the material from the fire was found to be in large pieces, a form which is not a threat to health.

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Any fibres released by the fire should have been dispersed widely by winds, they said, adding that when spread over a large area they do not pose a significant risk to public health.

However, as a precautionary measure All Saints Primary School and the footpath adjacent to the pet shop have been closed to the public.

Experts are undertaking a clean up of the fire site, the footpath and the school grounds.

Yesterday an Essex County Council spokesman said the clean-up operation was likely to take around two days and because of this All Saints Primary School would remain closed until Thursday at the earliest.

The spokesman added; “People living within 50 metres of the pet shop should keep their windows closed; wash fruit and vegetables, especially if grown in their own gardens, and rewash laundry which may have been drying in the garden until the clean up is complete.

“As a further precautionary measure, to reassure local residents, an independent analysis is undertaking a sampling exercise within 50 metres of the pet shop.

“In the unlikely event that contamination is found a further clean up operation will have to be undertaken.”

Further information will be available after the independent analyst has reported their results.

Anybody with any further queries is asked to call Tendring District Council on 01255 485501.

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