Demolition Of CUNY Building Damaged On 9/11 Prompts Health Concerns

Demolition Of CUNY Building Damaged On 9/11 Prompts Health Concerns

January 31, 2007

A City University building badly damaged in the September 11th attacks is finally slated to be demolished. But residents of the community are concerned that the demolition might release toxins into the air. NY1's Lindley Pless filed the following report.

“A lot of stuff is being done with the first responders. We feel the residents are the forgotten people being left in the background,” said area resident Craig Hall. “And residents are now getting sick and we are highly concerned about that.”

At Tuesday night's public information session at the Borough of Manhattan's Community College, local residents were given a chance to speak out about their concerns that bringing down Fiterman Hall will release toxins into the air they breathe every day.

“It's very scary considering that I go to Jersey all the time and I walk past that building,” said CUNY student Krystal Hall. “We have a lot of students who live in Jersey and take the Path train. They walk right past the building and don't even know what's going on.”

Fiterman Hall, on West Broadway, was heavily damaged on 9/11. CUNY, which owns the building, says it wants to rebuild on the site so their students have a better place to learn.

“Everybody is still a little skeptical, you know?” said Edward Sullivan of BMCC. “They want to be assured and we are trying to assure them that the dormitory authority, CUNY, and the college – we are trying to assure them the building is going to be cleaned properly and taken down safely.”

CUNY says the medical examiner has been brought in since 9/11 families expressed concerns that human remains were in or on the building's roof. They say they will be on hand for the entire demolition to make sure debris is handled appropriately. Local residents and workers say they'll believe it when they see it.

“As long as it is done professionally and correctly,” said Hall. “We fear that a lot of the buildings are being brought down without that.”

CUNY says it has created a community advisory group made up of residents, local advocates, and business owners so that those living around the site are involved with the entire deconstruction process.

The school also says they’ll be holding public information sessions every six weeks until the building is brought down. They say they hope to begin the deconstruction in the spring.

– Lindley Pless