Ensley business alliance says Ramsay-McCormack building demo dust affecting health

Businesses say they weren't warned before demolition

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - This week, the remaining floors of the historic Ramsay-McCormack building were demolished, but local business owners say they weren’t notified.

Ensley’s business alliance tells us that they were essentially left in the dust.

The Ramsay-McCormack building towered over the Ensley community for almost 9 decades, before demo began in October, floor-by-floor.

Tuesday, the building was deconstructed completely, creating a plume of dust. But business owners say they had no idea the big demo was going to happen on Tuesday and they’re now concerned about health effects.

“It immediately covered two blocks, pretty fast,” said Brian K. Rice, president of the Ensley Business Alliance.

He says as soon as he could, he grabbed his camera.

“I started trying to record, and trying to capture everything,” said the businessman.

A photo taken immediately afterward showed Regions, with customers still in line. Another showed a family walking, caught off guard as the dust settled.

He spoke to business owners immediately.

“I said I don’t know if your eyes are burning, but my eyes are burning, and that’s how I learned of those who had the bronchitis, the asthma,” said Rice.

A spokesperson for the City of Birmingham tells me there was a development meeting April 11 via Zoom where those who attended were notified.

Rice says notification did not happen by any other means.

The Jefferson County Department of Health told me they have received multiple complaints in addition to Rice’s, and were back in Ensley today surveying the site. Rice said health officials told him they will be back. “They said the majority of the responsibility is on the demolition department in the city of Birmingham.”

He’s asking the demolition crews to take greater care to mitigate the dust, and to have a new community meeting to discuss what’s next.

Rice is also carrying a portable air quality tester which showed poor quality levels as recently as Friday morning,

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