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Former Bills player faces asbestos charge

A Buffalo firefighter who briefly played fullback for the Buffalo Bills was criminally charged on Friday with illegally handling asbestos.

Sean P. Doctor, 44, of Buffalo, was charged with a felony violation of the federal Clean Air Act, the U.S. Attorney's office said.

In addition to working as a city firefighter, Doctor owns and operates a Grand Island-based asbestos removal firm called S.D. Specialty Services, according to prosecutor Aaron J. Mango and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Investigators from the federal Environmental Protection Agency and the state Department of Environmental Conservation said they conducted a court-authorized raid on the company's property at 1815 Love Road.

Investigators found a "significant amount" of asbestos waste that had not been properly secured, labeled or disposed of, EPA Special Agents Justus Derx said in court papers after the April 19 raid.

Asbestos that is not wetted down, put into secure bags and disposed of could be blown about by the wind and cause health problems for people who live near the Love Road property, authorities said.

"Through investigation, it was determined that the asbestos-containing material on the site came from projects that [Doctor] had worked on," Mango said.

Before joining the Fire Department, Doctor was a football star for Marshall University. He was drafted by the Bills in April 1989. After a suspension for steroid use, he played briefly for the team before he was cut early in the 1990 season.

"Sean is a wonderful guy who does a good job on asbestos removal," Doctor's attorney, Michael T. Kelly, told The Buffalo News. "The rules and regulations on handling asbestos are absolutely mind-boggling. I do feel that he will be cleared of these charges."

During a court appearance Friday before Magistrate Judge H. Kenneth Schroeder Jr., Mango said state safety inspectors recently found that employees who worked for Doctor on a project in Watertown were not using required safety equipment.

Doctor was released on non-financial bond while he awaits further proceedings.

e-mail: dherbeck@buffnews.com

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