Environmental officials: Disposal of Morrilton asbestos improper

Posted: March 20, 2012 at 9:33 a.m.

— State environmental officials say the owner of a downtown Morrilton building didn’t properly dispose of asbestos when he demolished the structure.

The building at 108 North Division Street was damaged last year when an adjacent building collapsed, killing 2-year-old Alissa Jones and injuring her mother. The building’s owner, J.J. Magie, says the city gave him written permission to demolish the building and didn’t mention contacting the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality.

Asbestos can cause cancer, but ADEQ officials say chances are no one’s health is at risk from the substance. Spokesman Katherine Benenati told KLRT-TV it’s not something officials want left on the ground there.

Mayor Stewart Nelson says Magie knew he needed an ADEQ permit for the demolition.

Magie says he’ll cooperate with the agency.