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Asbestos found in Morrilton

The Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality found asbestos in debris from a demolished building at 108 North Division Street.
MORRILTON, AR - The building that used to sit on 108 North Division Street in Morrilton is now gone. It was damaged in May of 2011 when a neighboring building collapsed, killing a two-year-old girl.

Shortly after, investigators found asbestos in the collapsed building. Last week, the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality, or ADEQ, found asbestos in debris from the demolished building at 108 North Division Street.

"Even if you handle it once it's not a guarantee that you'll get cancer in 30 years. We certainly don't want to scare anyone," said ADEQ Spokesperson Katherine Benenati, "but that said, it's not something that we want left on the ground out there."

ADEQ says chances are no one's health is at risk in Morrilton because of the asbestos, but they say Property Owner Dr. J.J. Magie did not dispose of it properly.

Magie says it's not his fault. He says the city gave him written permission to demolish the building and didn't say anything about ADEQ.

"My stance is that I was ignorant of that fact that I should contact ADEQ," Magie told Fox16.

Morrilton Mayor Stewart Nelson says the city did give Magie permission to demolish the building but that doesn't mean ADEQ did.

"He knows that you get a permit from ADEQ when you tear down a commercial building," Nelson said of Magie. "It's real simple, it's not rocket science."

Magie says his fault or not, he will cooperate with ADEQ. ADEQ says that's all they're looking for.

"We need to get the area cleaned up," explained Benenati. "We'll work with the responsible parties and try to make sure that that happens."

ADEQ has not cited or fined Magie, but say they still might. First they want to see how cooperative he is with the clean-up process.
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