Massive fire consumes century-old Younkers building in Des Moines

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DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A state inspector says the fire-gutted Younkers building downtown is an asbestos-contaminated site and will require specialized removal.

Tom Wuehr of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources tells The Des Moines Register that each of the building's floors are believed to have had asbestos felt between them, and that the building's pipes are insulated with the known carcinogen.

Wuehr says it's unlikely that workers or others downtown have or will be exposed to harmful levels of asbestos. He says the water used to put out the fire would have helped contain the material.

A massive fire swept through the more than century-old building that was being renovated early Saturday morning.

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