Birmingham's north precinct remains closed following chemical concerns

Birmingham's north precinct remains closed following chemical concerns
(Source: Damian Johnson/WBRC)
(Source: Damian Johnson/WBRC)

BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - An effort to remove floor tiles that may contain asbestos landed two Birmingham police officers in the hospital.

"We're definitely concerned about the health and safety of all our officers that work in this facility," said Lt. Sean Edwards.

That is why supervisors at Birmingham Police Department's north precinct decided to close it down late Wednesday night.

Three weeks ago, crews were removing old carpet from the offices of two supervisors.

Underneath, they found old, eroding tiles.

"The era the tile was constructed, there's a 70-percent chance this tile might have had asbestos ingredients," Edwards explained.

Lt. Edwards says the department made the decision to have professional crews remove the tiles. But the chemicals they used may have made some of the officers sick.

"There was a strong smell-strong aroma here. As you can tell, this facility is kind of closed in so I'm sure the fumes were still sitting inside of the place and that's what caused the issue," Edwards said.

Those two officers were taken to the hospital.

But Edwards says someone took it too far when, unbeknownst to supervisors, they placed a sign on the front door saying, "Asbestos Danger--Might Cause Cancer.

"And also, someone took it upon themselves to put some crime scene tape on the front door and that was not authorized, should have never taken place," Edwards said.

Edwards says the tiles have been removed and will be tested to see if indeed, the contain asbestos.

"We want to make sure we have an environment safe for them to work in," he says.

North Precinct is the oldest in the department ...dating back at least 40 years.

Edwards says discussions about a new building have been ongoing for some time now.

He could not say where the process stands but stressed it is an important issue for the department's leaders.

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