The burning of an old house in Billings, Montana for city fire department training purposes may have landed county officials in hot water because proper asbestos abatement procedures to reduce the risk of mesothelioma were not taken.
After previously deciding to board up the abandoned house, county officials allowed the Billings Fire Department to burn it instead as part of a three-day training exercise for recruits. While the county spent more than $1,000 to remove roofing shingles before the burn occurred, it was later determined that a Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ)-approved asbestos abatement expert never properly surveyed the building, as is required by state law.
Following the burn, a DEQ Enforcement Specialist informed County Commissioner Jim Reno that improper asbestos abatement procedures had not been followed. The department is still deciding whether or not to asses a penalty for potential mesothelioma risk caused by the unregulated burn, according to the Billings Gazette.