The asbestos scare at Silverdale Fire Station was a false alarm
Silverdale Fire Station was closed on Sunday over possible asbestos contamination, but tests have confirmed it was a false alarm.
Ron Devlin, Fire and Emergency NZ Auckland regional manager, said contractors were carrying out planned work at the Silverdale station on Sunday morning when dust was discovered in an engine compartment following a call out.
Three days earlier, the Auckland City Fire Station had to close its doors when asbestos was found on the premises.
Commander-on-call Brad Mosby said FENZ worked closely with representatives from relevant unions and associations to organize the cleaning and testing.
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“The health and safety of our employees was our top priority and we acted immediately.
“It’s a relief to know that the results of the tests were all negative, but we couldn’t have assumed that would be the case.”
The station remained closed overnight as a precaution while the dust was tested. It reopened Monday morning after all results confirmed no asbestos was present, he said.
The volunteer crew on duty went through decontamination procedures and were notified of the negative test results last night.
The station’s fire engines were also thoroughly cleaned and checked for the presence of asbestos before being returned to service last night.
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The secretary of New Zealand’s Auckland firefighters’ union, Martin Campbell, described the second incident as “a kind of eye-rolling experience for everyone involved”.
“Although it’s more of a precaution this time, it’s once again a no-one-in, no-one-out situation,” Campbell said.
Asbestos can cause asbestosis, a chronic lung disease caused by inhaling asbestos fibers.
Long-term exposure to asbestos can scar the lung tissue and cause shortness of breath.
It can range from mild to severe and often lies dormant for many years after a person’s initial exposure.
Asbestos can also cause mesothelioma, a cancer that occurs in the thin layer of tissue that covers most internal organs. According to the Mayo Clinic, it is an aggressive and deadly cancer.