Longtime Fort Bliss neighbors react to radioactive material found
POSTED: Tuesday, July 16, 2013 - 9:50pm
UPDATED: Wednesday, July 17, 2013 - 8:26am
El Paso, TEXAS (KTSM) — Some Northeast El Paso residents are on edge tonight, after learning radioactive material was found on Fort Bliss, just a short distance from their homes.
It's no secret Fort Bliss is expanding and building new homes for military families on it's land. It was for that reason, a few months ago, a retired airman made a concerned phone call to the air force. He says he worked at Biggs in the 1950's when the airforce had control of the airfield and was handling nuclear weapons. He had reason to believe the land may have been contaminated by radioactive material. He informed authorities that storage building 11507 was once used to store and handle nuclear weapons.
After inspecting the building, the Army Environmental Command discovered uranium residue on equipment that is used today by soldiers for training. The retired airman, whose identity is unknown, also reported that radioactive material was buried only a foot underground in sealed containers, somewhere in the general area. As of now, Fort Bliss has not found these alleged containers.
While Fort Bliss and health officials say there is no immediate danger, people who live near the site off Railroad Drive are concerned.
"How are they going to dispose of it and can they dispose of it at this point,” said resident Charlotte Castello, who's lived in East El Paso for forty years.
Castello sees Biggs Field every time she walks out her front door.
"It makes me feel not uneasy but concerned about future generations in this area and whether or not they would come in contact with it, if its very deep enough, if the soil is contaminated," said Castello.
And Helen Pasillas, also a long time resident agrees.
"There's always gonna be concern. I mean we would like to know if and when they do enter that bunk. If we are gonna be exposed a little more, if any. But overall I feel we're gonna be just fine," said Pasillas.