Fire damaged vehicles are pictured on a Stoneville property in Narla Retreat.Click for more photos

Perth hills fire devastates community

Fire damaged vehicles are pictured on a Stoneville property in Narla Retreat. Photo: Getty Images

Residents recovering from the devastating Perth Hills fires have been warned of a secondary danger facing homeowners and clean-up services.

Asbestos in homes and buildings may have been exposed or disturbed by the fires, specialist in the deadly fibres Laine McDonald said.

Ms McDonald said residents who returned to their properties and homes to begin the clean-up process should be aware of the risks of asbestos dust.

“As residents start cleaning up after the fires, they could be at risk of exposure, especially without adequate respiratory protection,” said Ms McDonald, a Slater and Gordon asbestos lawyer.

Advertisement

“Once breathed in, the dust released by damaged asbestos products can cause mesothelioma, lung cancer and other serious lung diseases.

“Around 250 Western Australians die every year from asbestos-related diseases and as long as asbestos products remain in our community we continue to be at risk.

“Most of us wouldn’t be able to tell if our homes contained asbestos, but as a general rule, if it was built before the mid 1980s there could be a risk to health.”

Information about handling asbestos during the clean-up can be found on the Department of Health’s website.

Ms McDonald said while there were ways to remove damaged asbestos themselves, it was much safer for residents to use an asbestos removal contractor.

Fairfax Media has contacted the Shire of Mundaring for comment.