Group Title: Historic St. Augustine: B8-L15
Title: [Letter to city officials re Pittman Roofing Co.]
Full Citation
Permanent Link:
 Material Information
Title: Letter to city officials re Pittman Roofing Co.
Series Title: Historic St. Augustine: B8-L15
Physical Description: Correspondence
Language: English
Creator: Autrey, Sue
Publication Date: 2000
Subject: Saint Augustine (Fla.)
17 Cuna Street (Saint Augustine, Fla.)
Harness Shop (Saint Augustine, Fla.)
Spatial Coverage: North America -- United States of America -- Florida -- Saint Johns -- Saint Augustine -- 17 Cuna Street
Coordinates: 29.895914 x -81.311995
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00091362
Volume ID: VID00032
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution.
Resource Identifier: B8-L15

Full Text

February 27, 2000

MAR 9 2000
The City of St. Augustine CITY OF ST AUGUSTINE
Lightener Bldg.
St. Augustine, FL 32084

Dear city officials:

I am a tenant of the property that you manage at 17 Cuna St. I have been at this location
since 1972. On January 25, 2000, Pittman Roofing Co. was contracted by the City of St.
Augustine to do a roofing project to the above-mentioned property. Several days prior to the
scheduled beginning date of the project I spoke with both Daryl, the supervisor for the roofing
company and Keith, the head of maintenance for the historic area. Daryl came by to inform me
of the starting date of the project. At that time I voiced my concerns about the asbestos on the
roof. I also had a similar conversation with Keith and we also spoke of the asbestos at that time.
Both assured me during our conversations that there would be no problem dealing with the
asbestos because the roofing company was well qualified to handle it. As I found out on January
25th, this was not the case. When I arrived at work on that day, I discovered the roofers
removing the roof, including the asbestos. They were not using ANY precautions required by
the U S government to remove hazardous materials. It was NOT continually being wetted, it
was NOT being put in plastic bags, the workers had NO protection, there were NO asbestos
warning signs posted, there was NO plastic ground covering. There was nothing there to warn
the general public in the area to be alert and careful if passing by. The total disregard of these
precautions is a federal offence. What I did see were the workers chopping up the asbestos with
their shovels and shoveling it off the roof into the back of open trucks that were parked in the
yard on the east side of the building. The pieces were flying through the air landing in and
around the trucks. Some were making it in the back of the trucks, some hit the sides and
smashed to the ground, and some missed completely and were scattered all over the yard. The
pieces were not only in the yard on the east side, but all around the entire building, including the

back parking lot and the west side mixing with the coquina surface. The original sheets of
asbestos on the roof were close to the size of plywood. After the roofers were through tearing it
up it was reduced to the size of cornflakes and even smaller. I am sure you would agree with me
that this is extensive and excessive destruction of the material. This type of asbestos, when left
undisturbed, is potentially safe. This was not the case for the asbestos in question. Because of
the extent of destruction, it became hazardous. It put not only me, but all those in the direct area
at risk of contamination. How can such a thing happen? Especially with documents available
from a survey of all historic buildings and their materials which was done in 1994 by the State of
Florida. The asbestos is listed in the documents for my building! The evidence of prior
knowledge is written in black and white. I not only hold Pittman Roofing responsible, but also
the City of St. Augustine for the hiring of the roofer who caused the problem.
When I discovered what was going on, I became extremely worried and went
immediately to find Keith and inform him of the problem. He went to get Daryl at another job
and they both met me back at my shop. At that time they tried to tell me that there was no
problem and the asbestos was not hazardous. Daryl even went so far as to demonstrate by
breaking a piece over his knee and announcing that no dust came out! Asbestos fibers are
microscopic. Of course you couldn't see them! Erica Robbins from the Dept. of Environmental
Protection was horrified when I told her of this demonstration. After Ms. Robbins was informed
of the mishandled situation, she visited the cite and witnessed the extensive scattering of the
asbestos. Mr. Pittman tried to clean up what he could but due to the severity of the situation
could not even come close to removing the mess. Ms. Robbins suggested that Mr. Pittman hire a
professional asbestos abatement company to handle the clean up job. He followed her
suggestion and they came on Friday, January 27th. They worked all day on the clean up and I
reopened on Saturday. I was forced to be closed due to the contamination and clean up three
days that week. Over the weekend I discovered that the asbestos was still covering the
surrounding property. Mr. Pittman was called and the abatement company returned on
Thursday, February 3rd. and again on the 4th to try to complete the clean up. Again, I was
forced to be closed for these two days. Then, once again, on Saturday, February 12th, the
abatement company returned and completely removed the yard and surrounding grounds and
replaced it with new dirt, sod, and new coquina. I had to remain closed until noon on that day. I
am hoping the property is now safe, not only for myself and family, but also for the public that

frequents the area. Although, I still have strong concerns about the interior of my building.
When the asbestos was being removed, the roofers had the entire rear portion of my roof
stripped, totally exposing the attic area. This allowed the asbestos to fall into the attic and
possibly between the inside paneling and the walls. Because of this possibility, I am requesting
future air quality monitoring after the roof is completed and the termite damaged exterior siding
has been replaced. I fear the activity from finishing this work will stir up remaining fibers. I
have lost a little more than five days of income, during a busy season of race fans, due to a
grossly negligent mishap that was beyond my control. I expect to be compensated for this. After
all, this happened to me. I did nothing to cause it. I am the victim here. Not you or Mr. Pitman!
Though I have been told everything should now be ok, I still worry every day that the air I
breathe while at work might not be safe. No one has been able to guarantee that my shop is
asbestos free. Because of this situation, I have had to incur the unexpected cost of after school
day care for my daughter, to limit any possible asbestos exposure to her. I also expect to be
compensated for this expense. Asbestos exposure is something that won't show any ill effects
for twenty years.
Please respond, so I can be informed of your intentions.


Sue Autrey
17 Cuna St.
St. Augustine, FL 32084
Mayor Len Weeks
Bill Harris (City Manager)
Jim Wilson (City Attorney)
Bill Adams
Erica Robbins (Dept. of Environmentat Protection)
Historic Preservation Advisory Council
FL Dept. of State (Division of Historical Resources)

University of Florida Home Page
© 2004 - 2010 University of Florida George A. Smathers Libraries.
All rights reserved.

Acceptable Use, Copyright, and Disclaimer Statement
Last updated October 10, 2010 - - mvs