VIDEO: Firefighters raced to the scene of a north Austin city-owned warehouse fire on the afternoon of May 6, arriving within five minutes of the first call.
But it wasn’t until a third alarm unit arrived a little over an hour later that crews were told the smoke swirling around the warehouse could be laced with asbestos, according to internal city documents obtained by KXAN that reveal new details of the incident that potentially exposed 115 firefighters and civilians to the cancer-causing building material.
After battling the fire at the corner of Blackson Avenue and the North Interstate 35 service road, those 115 city employees were sent to get chest X-rays as a precautionary measure in case they later develop health problems, according to an AFD spokesperson. In May, the city’s payroll had just over 600 firefighters.
The city had been aware of the asbestos in the warehouse since at least 2013.