NEW YORK – Federal regulators have cleared the way for crews to resume searching for human remains on the roof of a skyscraper being torn down near the World Trade Center site, officials said Thursday.
The Environmental Protection Agency suspended the search in April after saying workers were not properly protecting themselves from asbestos on the roof of the former Deutsche Bank building.
But the EPA this week told the Lower Manhattan Development Corp., the organization dismantling the 41-story tower, that its new plans for cleaning the roof of debris and remains were acceptable.
Work on the roof will resume as soon as possible, said John Gallagher, spokesman for the city agency.
More than 600 human bone fragments have been found in the building, most on the roof, since workers began dismantling it last fall. None of the fragments has been positively identified, said Ellen Borakove, a spokeswoman for the city medical examiner's office.
When the trade center's south tower collapsed on Sept. 11, 2001, it tore into 15 stories of the Deutsche Bank building, contaminating the building with trade center dust and other toxins.
The Lower Manhattan Development Corp., which bought the building two years ago to take it down, had hoped to begin a floor-by-floor dismantling in June.
That project will now be delayed until July or August while officials address other EPA concerns, Gallagher said.