The Liberty Building was constructed in 1925 as the headquarters for Liberty National Bank. Located on Main Street, it is the fifth tallest building in Buffalo, New York, featuring two replica Statues of Liberty on its roof. The Liberty Building is twenty-three stories tall, and it houses commercial offices. During the early 1960s, an addition was built onto the southeast corner of the building, and in 1999, the building was completely renovated.
Up until the late 1970s, asbestos was incorporated into building materials utilized during construction and maintenance procedures at the Liberty Building. Fireproof insulation, pipe covering, insulating cement, and block insulation contained asbestos. Workers who handled, removed or applied asbestos-containing materials are at risk for developing mesothelioma or lung cancer.
During the Liberty Building’s initial construction, asbestos-containing fireproof insulation was applied to its structural steel. Fireproof insulation was a mixture of cement, asbestos and linen packaged in large paper bags. Workers dumped bags of fireproof insulation into a machine where it was mixed with water and sprayed onto the structural steel with a hose. The fireproofing process created large clouds of asbestos-containing dust and fibers, which workers inhaled. Additionally laborers, including electricians, carpenters and plumbers, routinely disturbed the fireproof insulation after it was applied in order to fasten pipes or equipment to the structural steel. When fireproof insulation was disturbed, asbestos fibers became airborne.
The heating system at the Liberty Building included an extensive system of steam boilers, pipes and radiators. Boilers, pipes, pumps and valves were insulated with asbestos-containing materials, such as insulating cement, pipe covering and block insulation. Asbestos-containing insulating materials were removed in order to make repairs within the heating system. When repair procedures were completed, new asbestos insulation was applied. Removing and applying asbestos-containing materials emitted asbestos dust into the air. 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 assisted in the construction of the Liberty Building were employed by various contractors throughout Western New York. If you or a loved one were once employed as a laborer at the Liberty Building and have been diagnosed with mesothelioma or lung cancer, we urge you to contact us regarding your legal rights.