Suspected 'asbestos cloud' forces family to flee their Wembley home
PUBLISHED: 13:42 18 October 2016 | UPDATED: 14:45 18 October 2016
A mother and her young son were forced to flee their council home in Wembley after neighbouring building work sent clouds of suspected asbestos in the air.
Gemma Hutton, 32, from Alexandra Court in Empire Way, told the Times she feared for the safety of herself and two-year-old son Noah Raymond after a garage was demolished next to her flat.
She said: “The landlord smashed the garage roof down and clouds of dust were pouring out the sides. Children were playing a few metres away at the Happy Days nursery behind it and there’s a bus stop on the busy road it’s on.”
When her partner Anthony Raymond, who fits CCTV cameras, came home and told her to close all her windows because of the asbestos risk she called the police who in turn told her to call Brent Council.
In a desperate cry for help Ms Hutton also sent out a number of tweets highlighting her plight plus a video of Noah wearing a makeshift face mask.
She said: “I had to take Noah to my mum’s for safety for more than a week.
“Air tight seals should have been put around the site and workers wearing special suits. We have CCTV footage of a guy being dropped off and locked in the shed and much later stumbling out coughing and sneezing while dragging bags out. The landlord put the bags back after my partner challenged him.
“It’s so dangerous and yet you call the council’s customer services and they just shrug their shoulders.”
A spokeswoman for Brent Council said: “Once Brent Council was alerted to the concerns about the works, Brent Housing Partnership (BHP) property services team investigated the issue. They found that the works were privately commissioned by the leaseholder of the garage and shop owner.
“An asbestos analysis contractor was sent to the site, who confirmed that only the ceiling inside the garage had cement lining boards - where the asbestos is bonded within the cement - and the chance of fibres being released was unlikely.
“An asbestos removal contractor also confirmed that the asbestos was removed by them, as a private job for the shop owner.
“Ms Hutton was contacted to confirm that BHP had no reason to believe there were any ongoing risks from asbestos fibre release at the reported site.”
Sekram Siva, landlord of the garage said he stopped the works when he was altered to the possibility of asbestos.
He added: “We didn’t know anything; we thought it was not registered with Brent Council for asbestos and I thought it was a cement ceiling.
“I don’t want to hurt anybody.”