Located at 805 Delaware Avenue in Buffalo, New York, Temple Beth Zion’s current sanctuary was constructed in 1967, replacing its earlier structure at 599 Delaware Avenue that burned to the ground. Temple Beth Zion is one of the oldest and largest Reform congregations in the United States. The temple was designed by renowned architect Max Abramovitz, who also designed the Main Place Tower in Buffalo and Avery Fisher Hall at Lincoln Center in New York City. It features two enormous stained glass windows, designed by Ben Shahn and one of the world’s largest pipe organs, built by the Casavant Freres Company. The temple is home to the largest Jewish congregation in Western New York with a capacity for 1,100 people.
Many trades, including pipefitters, plasterers, electricians, laborers, carpenters, insulators and sheet metal workers were involved in the construction of Temple Beth Zion at 805 Delaware Avenue. Prior to the late 1970s, asbestos was incorporated into dozens of building materials used during the temple’s construction, including fireproof insulation, pipe covering, insulating cement and block insulation. Inhaling dust and particles from the application and maintenance of asbestos-containing materials placed workers at risk of developing mesothelioma, lung cancer or another asbestos-related disease.
Asbestos-containing fireproofing materials covered the structural steel throughout Temple Beth Zion. This material was dumped into a machine, mixed with water and sprayed onto structural steel with a hose. The fireproofing process emitted clouds of asbestos-containing dust, which remained airborne for days. After the fireproofing was applied, a variety of tradesmen disturbed the insulation in order to install pipes, ventilation ducts and framing studs. When fireproof insulation was disturbed, asbestos dust and fibers became airborne, which workers or anyone in the vicinity inhaled.
Hot water and steam pipes throughout Temple Beth Zion were insulated with asbestos-containing pipe covering. Insulating cement covered pipe elbows, pumps and valves. The steam boiler that provided heat to Temple Beth Zion was covered with asbestos block insulation. When maintenance or repairs were performed within the heating system, workers removed the old insulation. New insulation was applied after maintenance or repair procedures were completed. Removing and applying asbestos-containing insulation caused asbestos fibers to become airborne.
Many union and non-union laborers who worked on the construction of Temple Beth Zion were employed by various contractors throughout Western New York. If you or a loved one were once employed in connection with the construction of Temple Beth Zion and have been diagnosed with mesothelioma or lung cancer, we urge you to contact us regarding your legal rights.