House owner hits back

The fire damaged house in Audley Street that was the subject of complaints about the possibility of asbestos in the ruins was demolished prior to Easter.

The owner of a fire damaged house in Audley Street that was the subject of complaints about the possibility of asbestos in the ruins has defended himself for the delays in having the house demolished and the allegations of serious asbestos contamination.

Chris Ingram of Narrandera said he was astounded and extremely disappointed when he saw the house featured in a front page story in the Narrandera Argus (Action at Last, Thursday March 22, 2018). The story contained comments from a neighbour claiming there were grave fears about asbestos at the site and the state of the building.

She said it was constantly falling apart, contained asbestos and there was dust continually blowing into her yard. One of her greatest concerns as the time it had taken for the house at 37 Audley Street to be demolished and the possible health threat to her family while it remained.

Narrandera Argus investigations found that responsibility for the clean-up ultimately came down to the owner but the Narrandera Shire Council had the authority to ensure it was cleaned up.

Mr Ingram said he and his family were distraught when the front page story ran as he had previously had discussions with his neighbour regarding the demolition and she was given several assurances that the remains of the building were thoroughly wetted down using a special wetting agent by the local Fire Brigade, who he praised for their quick action and assistance.

“Firemen returned three times during the night to check on the remains and I can’t speak highly enough of them,” he said.

He said the delay with its demolition was related to the San Isidore contractors’ being unable to undertake the work as quickly as he would have liked. They were the successful tenderers for the demolition.

“Once the tender was signed there was no one allowed access including me and only the demolition guys were allowed on the site,” he said.

“It was all above board and done as quickly as possible,” Mr Ingram said. “There was no real basis for the complaint because everything was being done as quickly as possible and this had been explained to the complainant.

“Her complaint was based on misguided information and lack of knowledge. There are only restrictions on how you dispose of the asbestos.  As for the dust, there is possibly more dust coming from the London Plane tree balls falling in the street,” he said.

“Despite assurances that action was being taken, our neighbour refused to listen and I was very hurt that the whole matter exploded in this fashion. It has caused considerable trauma to me and my family after reading about it on the front page and relatives reading about it on Facebook.

“It’s too late now as the damage is done, but I just wanted to put forward our side of the story,” he said.

Mr Ingram said he was bitterly disappointed and hurt that it had come to this as he and his family had lived and worked in Narrandera all their lives. The house was demolished prior to Easter.

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