Professional Basketball Game Postponed Due To Asbestos Scare
New York City’s famed Madison Square Garden recently underwent the removal of “asbestos-related” materials, and during the procedure, some debris fell to the arena floor, causing the facility to be shut down. Madison Square Garden was closed on November 3 as a precaution. However, upon the analysis of the arena by city inspectors, it was found that no asbestos had been released into the area. The cleaning occurred during the normal maintenance, which took place overnight after Madison Square Garden held the New York Rangers hockey game on Monday, Nov. 2. The Garden published a statement saying that the scheduled Tuesday night basketball game between the visiting Orlando Magic and the New York Knicks would be postponed “out of an abundance of caution.” The statement continued: “As the safety of our customers and employees are our top priority, we will not reopen the Garden until we are absolutely assured the arena is safe.” Because of this, Madison Square Garden remained closed on Wednesday for the city inspectors to thoroughly examine the area for traces of asbestos. The closure did not last for more than a few days. Despite the precautions taken, the city inspectors concluded that there was no asbestos in the debris that was released onto the arena floor during cleaning. Asbestos, which can cause lung cancer and other diseases such as mesothelioma, was not loosed during the maintenance, according to The Associated Press and The New York Times. City officials claim that no asbestos was disturbed during the cleaning and the debris was non-toxic. Testing was also conducted using air monitors and the results were the same. There was no asbestos found. Concern arose when the debris triggered air monitors to indicate that there were elevated levels of fibers in the air, although additional testing showed that the fibers were not asbestos. The materials were “asbestos-related” and were being cleaned above the ceiling in the attic of the Garden. Madison Square Garden is currently under renovation with a projected cost of $850 million. The work is expected to be complete in the summer of 2012. The Garden opened in 1968 and is now the NBA’s oldest arena venue with the building still possessing many building materials from its original construction. This includes the asbestos which was utilized as a fire retardant.