Workers were forced to tear down what was left of JP Auto Service on Central Street in Springfield after the storm came through, potentially releasing toxic materials.State and federal agencies are responding to the damage wrought by Wednesday’s tornado in Western Massachusetts by hosing down destroyed properties before they are demolished to prevent the spread of airborne asbestos and other hazardous materials.

From the state’s Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), crews have been working to mitigate the health and environmental impacts of the disastrous storm that rocked the region.

While there have been minor oil and hydraulic fluid spills in various areas, those have been controlled and cleaned up, said Joe Ferson, spokesperson for MassDEP. The agency has dispatched workers to various corners of the affected areas to help with asbestos mitigation and other problems.

Asbestos and other hazardous building materials are the greatest concern for environmental consulting and remediation experts.

When any potentially hazardous products are released from a structure, that could result in those materials being dispersed to surrounding areas, contaminating ground that had been pure.

And when it comes to destruction, tornadoes are a far cry from the hurricane and flood damage to which New England is accustomed, said Garrett Quinn, project manager for Trident Environmental Group.

“The key difference between hurricanes and floods is that tornadoes rip everything apart,” Quinn said. “A hurricane won’t essentially blow your house up like a tornado will.”

Anything from paint thinner and household cleaners to a home’s oil tank could have been obliterated in the storm, especially if the tank is located outside the home, Quinn added.

Environmental Workers Hoping To Lessen Impact Of Tornadoes

by James Cronin time to read: 1 min