Mount Vernon halts 'zombie' home demolition
The state Department of Labor received complaints that Figueroa & Son didn't perform an asbestos survey at a burned-out house the city razed Jan. 31.
MOUNT VERNON - The city has halted the planned demolition of a "zombie home" until the contractor hired to do the job can show he has proper asbestos licenses.
The Building Department asked Figueroa & Son Contracting not to proceed with the demolition of a home at 271 S. Second Ave. in imminent danger of collapse from snow damage from the Jan. 23 blizzard after receiving a letter from the state
Department of Labor's Asbestos Control Bureau.
In its Feb. 3 letter, the Labor Department requested a stop-work order after it received two complaints that Figueroa didn't perform an asbestos survey at 136
Park Ave., a burned-out house the city razed on Jan. 31, citing an imminent danger of collapse.
"I would like to point out that Figueroa & Son Contracting Co., Inc. is not a NYS licensed asbestos abatement contractor, has not been treating 136 Park Ave. as an asbestos site, has not been following applicable NYS asbestos regulations (56-11.5) and has not notified NYS DOL or paid applicable fees," wrote Paul Billera, a safety and health inspector for the Labor Department.
Additionally, Billera wrote that he found "several waste bags full of suspect material" in the front yard of the Park Avenue home when he inspected the work site.
Building Commissioner Mark Warren said he asked Figueroa to provide the proper documentation and was told by the company it does have a proper license, but under a different business name.
Figueroa declined to comment on the matter. The Labor Department did not respond to requests for information about its investigation.
Mount Vernon resident Sam Rivers was one of the complainants who contacted the Labor Department and he gave The Journal News a copy of the agency's letter to the city requesting a stop-work order.
"I'm not satisfied until I know the outcome and how he's being punished," Rivers said.