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Wider clean-up under way following Saturday’s fire in Christchurch

23 October 2003

People living or working in and around two city blocks east of the Avon River in central Christchurch are today being given information about a clean-up of any asbestos which may have landed in the area following a fire at the weekend.

Dr Mel Brieseman, the Medical Officer of Health and Margaret Radford, the manager of the Occupational Safety and Health Service (OSH) say that if people follow the advice there should not be any real risk to residents or workers.

“People who have been casually passing through the area have not been at risk,” Dr Brieseman says.

Christchurch City Council and Community Public Health have together been managing clean-up efforts following the Wentworth Building fire on Saturday night (18 October). The old building had an asbestos tile roof and some pollution from this was lifted into the air by the fire and carried to the west by a light breeze.

Clean-up around the fire site and in the area which was obviously affected has gone well and systems are in place to ensure no more contamination comes from the site. However, wider safety checks done yesterday show some of the wind-borne asbestos has landed west of the river.

The area now targeted for a wider clean-up is the Montreal, Hereford, Cambridge Terrace, Cashel block, the triangular riverside block directly south of it (Montreal, Cashel, Cambridge Terrace) and the properties facing on to the west side of Montreal Street, from Cambridge Terrace to Hereford Street.

Contractors for the City Council have begun washing down those streets and footpaths and later today will vacuum the gutters. Officers this afternoon began going door-to-door with information about what people should look for in their properties and explanations about how it can be safely dealt with.

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