LK Partner Robert Komitor Is Interviewed and Appears on NBC New York Affiliate WNBC to Discuss the Impacts During the Height of the Disaster.

Asbestos dangers lurk everywhere and may emerge at any time.

There is no better example for that than turning to the streets of New York City, where a Con Edison steam pipe exploded underneath the street in the city’s Flatiron district Thursday morning, July 19th. That pipe, like the more than 100 miles of others carrying steam throughout NYC, was covered with asbestos insulation, which ordinarily goes unseen and usually undisturbed. The resultant geyser of steam and debris coming from the ten-foot crater caused by the explosion contained asbestos that covered and contaminated buildings, pavement, and the clothing of passersby. Steam spewed from the site for nearly 2 hours while authorities sought to isolate the source of the event.

As a result, 49 buildings were evacuated and streets in the surrounding area were closed to contain the potential contamination. According to an NYC press release, approximately 500 people were displaced from their homes and offices and close to 250 residential units were impacted.[1]

Residents or passersby with asbestos-contaminated clothing were urged to remove them, bag them, and immediately shower. Firefighters who entered the vicinity were equipped with hazmat suits and respiratory gear. The area around Fifth Avenue and 20th and 21st Streets has been closed off and shut down to give authorities an opportunity to evaluate the extent of the contamination and perform an effective clean-up of the scene.

Fortunately, no immediate injuries were reported, but the long-term effects remain unknown.

This is not an isolated incident. In January 1998, a water main break and similar pipe explosion occurred, no more than 2 blocks from the current incident. Another incident occurred during an evening commute in midtown Manhattan near Grand Central Station in July 2007. And in August 1989 a steam pipe exploded in the Gramercy Park section of Manhattan, not far from the current explosion. Each time, asbestos, which covered the steam pipes, was spewed into the air and had to be contained.

LK  partner Robert Komitor, who has represented asbestos victims for decades, was interviewed to discuss the potential impact of asbestos exposure to those in the vicinity and appeared on NBC affiliate WNBC, News Four New York, on the 6:00 PM and 11:00 PM news coverage of these events. He was also quoted in web coverage by other NBC affiliates.

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