Air samples at steam pipe blast test negative for asbestos

MANHATTAN — Officials say all air samples taken at the site of a steam pipe explosion in Manhattan several days ago have tested negative for asbestos.

The results were announced Monday as more buildings in the Flatiron District were declared safe for tenants to return after firefighters began spraying the facades of buildings to wash off any asbestos.

Inspections and tests of impacted buildings will continue.

The work is part of the cleanup after the Con Edison pipe ruptured Thursday morning. Forty buildings were evacuated, displacing hundreds of people.

At least 17 buildings have been cleared for people to re-occupy them, but the city said they were cleared with the city only having tested building common areas and central HVAC systems.

There has been no testing individual offices and apartments for asbestos.

PIX11 pressed the Emergency Management Commissioner at a meeting Monday night about why the individual spaces were not being checked out of an abundance of caution.

“We’re asking people to change their filter, I don’t think that’s too much,” he said. ”Check your apartment.  If you see something you don’t like, call us and we will do an official assessment.”

People also found out tonight there are 12 buildings close to the blast site that have internal asbestos contamination and will require a lot more remediation.