Asbestos concerns halt demolition on Burley buildings

TWIN FALLS, Idaho (AP) — Demolition has been halted on two vacant buildings damaged in a fire in a southern Idaho city as the Environmental Protection Agency tests for asbestos at the site.

EPA personnel Tuesday were taking samples from the buildings in downtown Burley that were destroyed by arson in late January, The Times-News <a target=”&mdash;blank” href=”http://magicvalley.com/news/local/crime-and-courts/asbestos-testing-underway-at-burley-buildings-destroyed-in-arson-fire/article%E2%80%94ad5ec87c-15b8-5f41-b061-4e3b856a0a98.html”>reported</a> .

“We don’t have results yet,” EPA spokesman Mark Macintyre said. “There are also some questions about the protocol for demolishing the buildings and what kinds of certifications are necessary.”

The agency is working to ensure that rules are followed, Macintyre said. The agency has not said what its next step will be if asbestos is found or protocols were violated.

The city had advised the building owners to test for asbestos and perform the demolition according to federal guidelines, Gary Pawson said, the city’s chief building official. The city does not offer a permit for demolition.

An unknown person started a fire in the vacant buildings on Jan. 29, authorities said. As firefighters responded to the blaze, they also found an unexploded pipe bomb in the door handle of a new, unopened restaurant across the street from the building. The pipe bomb and the fire are being investigated as one case, authorities said.

The Idaho State Fire Marshal’s Office announced last month that it was offering a $5,000 reward for information leading to the conviction of the person who started the fire.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives is offering a reward of up to $10,000 in conjunction to the $5,000 reward, authorities said.

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Information from: The Times-News, <a target=”&mdash;blank” href=”http://www.magicvalley.com”>http://www.magicvalley.com</a>

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