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June 1, 2017

Prayers, Hope & Best Wishes—not able to undo 1958 construction practices!

Despite all the prayers, hopes & best wishes for the church following the ceiling fire incident in the Chapel last Sunday, the consequences of 1958 construction practices could not be undone.  Lab results from the ceiling sample came back positive for asbestos.  Use of asbestos in many building materials was common in the 1950’s. And, if unexposed and fixed in place, such materials are said to pose no hazard. However, when broken, smashed or cut, the release of particles from such building materials is cause for concern.

Since the ceiling was  brought down hastily by the fire service due to the urgency of accessing the source of the fire before it spread, the fear is that asbestos particles  may have become airborne and migrated away from the immediate Chapel area.  Currently, two firms are in the church conducting air sampling in order to determine those areas that are safe for occupancy.  Those results should be back in a couple of days.

Thereafter, an asbestos removal permit needs to be obtained from the Commonwealth of PA (up to 10 days to be issued) and then several days to remove debris and clean the Chapel plus the adjacent area.  Thus, it will be a couple of weeks before actual reconstruction can begin.

Continued words of appreciation to the wonderful tradesmen who have been working to clean, test and prepare for repairs.  And, thank you to all who have offered support both in prayers and in labor to deal with this unfortunate event.

David Hosler — PMT Chair (Property Ministry Team)