Lab tests: Charred debris from mill fire contains asbestos

Lab tests: Charred debris from mill fire contains asbestos »Play Video
Bystanders watch smoke rise from a mill fire in Springfield on July 17, 2014. A 1-mile evacuation order was later put in effect around the fire.

SPRINGFIELD, Ore. - Charred debris and ash from the Swanson Mill fire a week ago may contain asbestos, the Lane Regional Air Protection Agency said.

LRAPA said it received a complaint of possible debris from the fire on private property.

The burned materials range from small flakes of ash to larger palm-sized charred debris.

Some of the debris has tested positive for containing asbestos, LRAPA said.

Further testing is being conducted to confirm the results.

Asbestos can be harmful when airborne.

“If you see fire debris on your property that is white, beige or gray in color, and is felt-like in appearance, please do not disturb the material,” said Jo Niehaus, a spokesperson for LRAPA. “As long as the debris is solid and undisturbed, it will reduce risk of possible fibers becoming airborne.”

LRAPA urged people to take caution if they decide to handle the debris personally.

It is difficult for asbestos fibers to be airborne when the material is wet and reduces the risk of exposure.

High pressure water hoses are not recommended because they may break apart the remains.

It is recommended to use protective masks, gloves and to use a water mister to wet down the material and store it in a sealable plastic bag.

To dispose of the collected material, please call Lane County Department of Public Works, Waste Management Division at (541) 682-4120.

If you believe that debris has landed on your property, LRAPA asked you to call (541) 736-1056.

LRAPA is currently working with the Swanson Group to investigate all possible cases.