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Detectives forced two workers for Smokin' Joe Anderson to stop ripping the roof off the Hitching Post Restaurant Saturday after neighbors complained that the work was releasing hazardous asbestos fibers into the air.

Detective Anthony Conte said he told the employees to stop working at the restaurant on Hyde Park Boulevard after he and Detective John Donner investigated complaints from neighbors that asbestos from the roofing materials was getting into their homes.

The Niagara County Health Department, the state Department of Environmental Conservation and the federal Environmental Protection Agency were notified.

They are expected to investigate to determine if asbestos was being released into the air; if Anderson had obtained the proper permits to do the work; and whether proper procedures were followed in dismantling the roof.

Conte said about half the roof had been removed when he and Donner arrived.

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