Madison Square Garden Officials Reopen Arena After Asbestos Scare


madison-square-gardenA fire alarm blared at the Knicks’ training center Wednesday, its shrill bursts disturbing an otherwise peaceful afternoon. No one was evacuated. No fire trucks rushed to the scene. Another false alarm.

Players and coaches had long since left the building. They were still digesting the previous warning – an asbestos scare at Madison Square Garden that forced the postponement of a home game Tuesday night.

Like the fire alarm, the asbestos warning appears to have been unwarranted, and the Knicks will soon resume their normal schedule.

Garden officials announced Wednesday evening that the arena had been deemed safe and that all events would go on as scheduled.

In a statement, the Garden said it had received “assurance from the city and environmental experts regarding the safety of the arena.”

The statement said nothing about asbestos, the word that initially set off concerns after some debris fell from the Garden attic during overnight maintenance Monday. Tests conducted by the city’s Department of Environmental Protection and by independent contractors concluded that no asbestos had been released into the arena.

The decision to reopen the arena was made by Garden officials alone. The city’s oversight effectively ended once testing concluded that there was no asbestos in the arena.

“It’s essentially in their hands,” Farrell Sklerov, a spokesman for the D.E.P., said earlier in the afternoon. He added, “There’s no health risk.”

{NY Times/ Newscenter}