MASON CITY | Records obtained by the Globe Gazette show the more than 100-year-old Armory building near downtown Mason City underwent two asbestos abatements since March, causing a delay in its demolition.
Nathan Stueve, a member of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources' asbestos program, said he inspected the building, located at 130 West State St., less than six months ago. He added the issue is common with older buildings, especially given the materials in those structures.
"The thing you have to understand is there are over 3,000 building materials that could have asbestos in it," he said. "Sometimes, it's hard to find everything with asbestos."
DNR records show that there were two asbestos abatements on the building: one from June 22 to July 9, and another from Aug. 21 to Sept. 7. Both times, Site Services, Inc. of Algona was in charge of the asbestos removal.
Complete demolition of a building cannot be done until most of the asbestos has been removed, Stueve added. If it gets airborne, it could present a health hazard, he said.
Wayne Clegg, president of Site Services Inc., said there was nothing abnormal about the asbestos removal.
"It's just another abatement process," said Clegg, who has been in the business for 37 years.
According to EPA guidelines, demolition cannot occur if asbestos covers 160 square feet or more of facility components. DNR records indicate that 150 and 50 square feet of asbestos was removed during the first and second abatements, respectively.
Jeff Tierney, the owner of the building and the crew completing the building's demolition, didn't return multiple calls from the Globe Gazette this week.
By Wednesday afternoon, most of the building's north, east and west sides had been destroyed.
This past March, workers started demolition by removing the roof of the building. That continued last week, shortly after the second abatement had finished.