A residential property that exploded in the community of Tea Tree Gully in South Australia has local residents concerned for their health after months of exposure to the elements.
Initial reports said that the explosion that ripped through the property on October 25 2011 showered the surrounding area with glass, dust and debris.
The vacant dwelling on the corner of Tarton Road and Falcon Street in Holden Hill may have contained large amounts of asbestos in its internal lining.
In its inert form the carcinogenic material is relatively harmless – however, as it decays fibres are released into the atmosphere and can enter into the respiratory tract.
According to official sources, the initial explosion may have been the result of malicious activity as accelerants and signs of arson were found at the scene by investigators.
However, the authorities have been unable to confirm the location of the owner of the property in order to continue their enquiries.
While the man was initially detained in Wangaratta by members of the Victorian police force for questioning, a report published by Adelaide Now on February 29 has indicated that his whereabouts are currently unknown.
Unfortunately, this also means that the local council is unable to start clean-up efforts on the site, as it is still considered private property.
Residents have been able to clear debris from their own dwellings and in many cases have been able to claim property damage expenses through their own insurance policies.
On top if this, the Tea Tree Gully council has also concluded restoration efforts of the public property in the surrounding area.
However, without direct intervention or a legislative intervention, the authorities are unable to provide any assistance to local residence in terms of clearing any exposed asbestos from the site.
The mayor of Tea Tree Gully, Miriam Smith, spoke to the publication explaining the efforts that had been undertaken so far.
Smith asserted: "We covered and fenced the site for public safety at the time, but currently our legal powers are limited.
"In the meantime we will continue to seek a resolution from the owners, while we continue to assist residents with any queries or ongoing concerns."
Any incidents of mesothelioma that can be directly attributed to asbestos exposure from the damaged building may give the victims the right to compensation payments.
The disease can take decades to surface after initial contact, meaning that a dedicated compensation lawyer is often useful in successfully resolving a case.