Buffalo Savings Bank was established in 1846, and it was the first savings bank in the City of Buffalo. In 1901, its headquarters opened on the corner of Main and East Huron Streets in Downtown Buffalo. The bank’s headquarters became known for its massive copper-clad dome roof, which, in 1954, was covered in gold leaf. After several mergers and acquisitions in the early 1980’s, Buffalo Savings Bank became Goldome in 1983. After several years of financial difficulty for the bank, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation closed Goldome in 1991 and divided its assets between its local competitors. At the time, it was the sixth largest bank failure in American history. The Manufacturers and Traders Trust Company (M & T) took possession of the former Goldome headquarters in Buffalo.
Asbestos was incorporated into dozens of materials used during construction and maintenance procedures at Buffalo Savings Bank. In recent years, workers who assisted in the construction of Buffalo Savings Bank have developed and died of mesothelioma, lung cancer and other asbestos-related diseases. Asbestos-containing fireproof insulation was applied to the structural steel throughout Buffalo Savings Bank in order to protect the steel from potential fire damage. Fireproofing material was manufactured as a dry mixture of cement, asbestos and linen, and it was packaged in heavy paper bags. Workers dumped fireproofing material into a machine, where it was mixed with water and sprayed onto the structural steel. This process produced clouds of asbestos-containing dust, which workers inhaled.
Workers also utilized asbestos-containing materials in order to insulate the steam heating system at Buffalo Savings Bank. Steam and hot water pipes were insulated with asbestos-containing pipe covering and insulating cement. Asbestos block insulation covered steam boilers in order to ensure the efficient operation of the heating system. Gaps between lengths of block insulation on the boilers were covered with asbestos-containing insulating cement. When asbestos-containing materials were removed or applied, asbestos fibers became airborne.
Additionally, asbestos was incorporated into floor tiles, ceiling tiles and joint compound at Buffalo Savings Bank. Joint compound was applied to the seams between sheets of drywall. After it dried, it was sanded to a smooth surface. Sanding joint compound emitted asbestos dust into the breathing zone of workers. Handling, cutting and installing ceiling tiles and floor tiles also caused asbestos fibers to become airborne. Most workers were completely unaware of the dangers of exposure to asbestos dust, and they performed their work without masks or protective gear.
Many union and non-union laborers who worked on construction projects for Buffalo Savings Bank were employed by various contractors throughout Western New York. If you or a loved one were once employed in connection with the construction of Buffalo Savings Bank and have been diagnosed with mesothelioma or lung cancer, we urge you to contact us regarding your legal rights.