In Temple, Texas, the demolished remains of a local church were soaked with water to minimize the risk of spreading airborne asbestos particles. A large construction machine was used to knock down the former First Baptist Church last Wednesday morning.
Beginning early in the morning, the machine tore apart wood, metal, and other debris at the office-like building. Work is still ongoing at the site, and it is expected to wrap up sometime this week, according to Brad Garrett of Garrett Excavation and Demolition.
Water was sprayed on demolition debris at the site to minimize the chance that small amounts of airborne asbestos could travel on air currents. When asbestos fibers are moistened, they are less likely to become airborne, making it less likely that people will inhale or ingest these asbestos particles. Asbestos exposure is linked to the development of mesothelioma, a rare and aggressive form of cancer.
Mesothelioma affects less than 3,000 Americans each year, and while there are treatment methods available, including chemo, there is no known cure. The disease typically lies dormant for up to fifty years before an individual begins to suffer from mesothelioma symptoms, and the majority of patients lose their battle with this cancer in less than two years.
Many locals are deeply saddened by the loss of the local church.
"We know greater things are coming but we didn't want them to come in such a painful way," said Judy West, a 25-year member of the First Baptist Church who wept as the church was pulled apart. "We're looking at both destruction and lost potential."