BURLEY — The owner of two demolished buildings destroyed by arson fire in downtown Burley must start his cleanup this month.
A government agency overseeing asbestos cleanup at the two buildings on the west side of the 1200 block of Overland Avenue said if cleanup does not start this month, the agency will hire someone to clean it up and bill the owner.
Work is expected to take several months.
Brian Tibbets, the buildings’ owner, said he intends to start the cleanup this month.
The fire destroyed the building at 1222 Overland Ave. and an adjacent building at 1226 Overland Ave. was damaged by water.
“I’m still getting pricing from two companies that I’m working with,” Tibbets said. “I won’t start the work until I find out how much it costs and I know I can afford it.”
Tibbets began the demolition in March after a January 29 arson fire left the buildings unstable.
Cleanup work was halted in March when the United States Environmental Protection Agency took samples from the site and performed tests for asbestos.
“Shortly after this site came to EPA’s attention last March, we directed the property owner to install and maintain a fence to prevent public access and to keep the site wet to help prevent asbestos from becoming airborne. The property owner followed those instructions, repeatedly indicating to EPA that he is willing and able to perform the cleanup, but declaring that he will need until mid-July to line up the necessary resources to begin the work,” EPA Spokesman Mark MacIntyre wrote in a statement to the Times-News. “EPA is now working with the property owner to ensure that any cleanup actions undertaken at the site comply with the National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAP) regulation. Should the cleanup fail to begin in July, EPA contractors will perform the cleanup using federal funds and bill the property owner.”
At the time of the arson fire, an undetonated pipe bomb was found across the street at an unopened restaurant owned by Tibbet’s business partner, Brek Pilling.
“The case is still under investigation,” Jay Heward, Cassia County sheriff said. “There’s nothing new at this time.”
The sheriff’s office is working with federal and state authorities.
They are still searching for a suspect shown in photographs and video that were released by the sheriff’s office.
“We are just waiting on the feds,” George Warrell, Cassia County undersheriff said. “They are still doing their investigation and we haven’t heard if they got their stuff back from the lab yet.”
Warrell said anyone with information on the case can call the Cassia County Sheriff’s Office Crime Stoppers at 208-878-2900, where the caller can remain anonymous.
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives partnered with the Idaho State Fire Marshal in March to offer a combined reward of $15,000 for the arrest and conviction of the responsible parties.
Anyone with information on the fire or bomb can also call the ATF’s toll free hotline at 888-ATF-FIRE or 888-283-3473.
A tip can also be submitted through the ATF’s app available at reportit.com and at Google Play and the Apple App Store. Tips are confidential and can be anonymous.
Asbestos is a mineral fiber that occurs in rock and soil and is found in insulation, vinyl floor tiles, adhesives, shingles, textured paint and patching compounds and other materials. Asbestos fibers are released into the air during product use, demolition or repairs and when the asbestos-containing material is disturbed or damaged.
Exposure to asbestos increases a person’s risk of developing lung disease. The chances of harmful health effects and disease symptoms are increased with more exposure to the substance and they may take years to develop after exposure, the EPA website says.