published February 16, 2001
to beryllium leak mixed
doesn’t bother me,’ 1 resident says
Shelli Lajti, here with her daughter, Kaci, 7, says
that she doesn’t fear living on Weis Road a mile from Brush
Wellman. THE BLADE/DAVE
BY JOE MAHR
ELMORE - Shelli Lajti opened her door to
firefighters wearing gas masks who came to evacuate her from the
path of potentially hazardous emissions from the Brush Wellman
But the release of beryllium dust in a smoke plume
yesterday morning didn’t faze her, and she said she doesn’t fear
living a mile from the plant.
"My family’s lived here
forever," she said. "I’ve lived here 16 years. ... It just doesn’t
Mrs. Lajti was the only one of seven residents
home when Elmore volunteer firefighters knocked at three homes on
State Rt. 590 and four on Weis Road.
The incident sparked
complaints from several other Brush Wellman neighbors,who weren’t in
the path, like Bryan Sharples.
Mr. Sharples, who lives three
miles north of the plant, has called for testing of nearby residents
and properties for the hazardous beryllium dust.
wind blows our way. Those poor souls got it," Mr. Sharples
But Mrs. Lajti doesn’t consider herself a poor
"Maybe I’m naïve, but I honestly don’t feel
threatened," she said.
She said her aunt heard about the
accident over a police scanner and called to warn her about 9:30
a.m. Mrs. Lajti said she watched TV news and looked out her window
to monitor the situation.
About 10:45 a.m., she said, two
firefighters with masks came to her door and asked her to
Because of the evacuation, she had to pick up her two
children from school because school buses couldn’t travel in the
Dave Knipp, who lives across from the plant
on S.R. 590, said his biggest inconvenience was picking up his child
from school. Mr. Knipp said no one was home at the time authorities
went to evacuate his home.
"I know people who work at the
plant. They do the best they can and follow guidelines," he
No one was home at Bill Miller’s home, just south of
the Lajtis’. He said he wishes Brush Wellman had contacted him
personally to discuss the accident. Otherwise, he said, he’s not
overly concerned about it.
"It’s a factory," he said. "Things
are going to happen."