DENVER (CBS4) – After months of debate crews are demolishing what’s left of a burned apartment building in Denver’s Five Points neighborhood.

The home located at 37th Avenue and Marion Street has been in ruins since a fire in July. Everyone got out safely.

An image from the fire in July (credit: CBS)

An image from the fire in July (credit: CBS)

The demolition began about 2 p.m. on Wednesday. As the building comes down, the controversy, however, is not over and won’t be until the bill gets settled.

The City of Denver says two out of three environmental reports found there is asbestos in the damaged building. The reports were generated by the property owner through private companies.

“I know the property owner had hoped that there would not be asbestos found in the building and had hoped for a less expensive solution,” Andrea Burns with Community Planning and Development for the City and County of Denver said. “But unfortunately that’s not what the state is willing to allow.”

The city denied the property owner’s request to demolish the building without asbestos abatement. Insurance adjuster Donald Fymbo, hired by the owners, showed CBS4’s Jennifer Brice the environmental reports saying only trace amounts of asbestos were found.

“The only asbestos found in this building is a piece of tape,” Fymbo said. “We have 120 negative samples. There is nothing in that building and nobody can make any in there.”

The building being demolished on Wednesday (credit: CBS)

The building being demolished on Wednesday (credit: CBS)

The city says the state’s regulations require that given the amount of asbestos found in the reports, and the inability to test the whole building, asbestos mitigation has to take place.

The building owner does not plan to pay the $125,000 bill for the mitigation.

Insurance adjusters hired by the owners say their clients do not have asbestos remediation as part of their policy. The difference in cost for a regular demolition and an abatement demolition is about $80,000 for the property.


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