City officials indicted after allegedly knowing about fire station asbestos

The Marion city administrator and fire chief were accused of allowing staff and the community to be exposed to asbestos in the building

By FireRescue1 Staff

MARION, S.C. — Officials were indicted after allegedly knowing a fire station contained asbestos and allowing staff and community members to be exposed.

WPDE reported that Marion city administrator and building inspector Thomas Ammons and Marion Fire Department Chief Ralph Cooper III face multiple charges after allegedly allowing “asbestos containing waste to be discharged into the environment,” according to the indictment.

Ammons said the asbestos was in the building for a long time, but until floor tiles were pulled up after a hurricane in October, it had not been discovered.

“The City of Marion is aware of concerns about the presence of asbestos in a portion of the fire department damaged by Hurricane Matthew,” Ammons said in a statement in May. “The city is committed to the health and safety of our employees and citizens. The city has been in continuous contact with the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) since the discovery of the damaged area in the fall of 2016, and believes that it has complied with the regulatory requirements and instructions from DHEC employees relating to asbestos detection and removed.

Firefighters said the city has not yet given them access to medical exams to determine if the asbestos impacted their health.

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