Mar 22, 2014 12:36 AM by Jennifer Horbelt

Pueblo tenants forced to evacuate after possible asbestos contamination

PUEBLO, CO- Close to a dozen families are spending the weekend away from home, but not by choice. Asbestos may be a real concern at their complex, and a pipe that leaked more than a week ago is how it all started.

This is happening at a complex owned by Emerald Isle Lending at 1930 Vinewood Lane on Pueblo's southside. News 5 was contacted by tenants Friday afternoon.

Tenants sat outside Friday afternoon after getting a knock on their door and being told they had to evacuate within 30 minutes due to a possible asbestos contamination. Many took as many belongings as they could gather. They were warned, however, that those items could be contaminated with asbestos.

Last week, a pipe leaked in an upstairs apartment, damaging multiple apartments. That lead to testing, which lead to concerns about possible asbestos. The sudden evacuation has people living there shocked and upset.

"We're on a fixed income. We just have my husband's income and that's it. We have no where, no family, we just moved here from Texas, and have no place to go," said Michelle Sandoval, a tenant.

"I'm really worried. I'm really stressed out. I feel like everything's out of my control at the moment. I don't know what to do," Shanna Dunham, who called News 5 Friday afternoon, told our crew on scene.

"Don't know if anything is contaminated until tests are done, and that will be done on Monday," said Lena Tafoia, the landlord of the complex.

Tafoia also told News 5 the property owners are aware and addressing the issue.

Ten apartments total are evacuated, which impacts possibly as many as 20 people.

Tafoia says those tenants will be put up at a local motel for at least this weekend, until additional testing is done on Monday. She also said the leaking water more than likely disturbed any asbestos that may have been in the walls, which is when that substance can become a serious health hazard.

We'll continue to follow this story and update you on air and online with any new developments.



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