Asbestos in Old Nursing Home Causes Concerns for Residents, Officials

In Kittery, Maine, the Homestead Nursing Home sits decaying at a site along Route 1, waiting to be demolished so room may be made for something new and exciting. But in a scenario that is typical around the country, the demolition has been delayed because of the presence of asbestos and the money it takes to properly remove and dispose of the toxic material.

An article on Seacoast Online reports that the owner of the building, David Sowerby, was supposed to demolish the building by December 2012 but then received an extension until May of this year. It’s nearly July, officials note, and the end is not in site though Sowerby claims that if not for the asbestos problem, the building would have been torn down by now.

Still, local residents and officials worry about the building, which they say is open to vagrants and filled with rats. Furthermore, with kids out of school now, some are concerned that they’ll make their way into the building, not knowing what waits for them inside, including exposure to asbestos.

“It’s a frigging zoo in there,” said Councilor Jeff Brake. “Sooner or later, somebody’s going to get hurt.”

The article notes that the Kittery Town Council deemed the structure a “dangerous building” under state law last November. Apparently, Sowerby began preparing for demolition, but when the asbestos was discovered he stopped the project. After securing the services of an asbestos removal company, the owner failed to go forward because he claimed he couldn’t find a place to send the material.

Sowerby notes that he’s asked the police to make extra patrols of the area because he understands that anyone can loiter at the site in its current state, as there is nothing to deter them from entering. Anyone who makes their way into the old nursing home risks exposure to the friable asbestos inside, which may eventually cause serious illnesses, including mesothelioma cancer or other diseases that attack the lung area.

Comments are closed.