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  • Ocala Fire Stations closes due to MOLD

    Firehouse shut due to moldy conditions
    Move is only temporary


    Published July 16. 2003 8:30AM

    BY LASHONDA STINSON
    STAFF WRITER


    OCALA - Ocala Fire-Rescue Station No. 5 is temporarily out of commission.

    Since late last week, the fire station's three to four-member crew has been working out of the Fire-Rescue headquarters on Northeast Third Street after city officials received preliminary results of an environmental assessment of fire station No. 5, located at 2340 N.E. 25th Ave. The fire truck remains in the bay.

    Preliminary findings showed issues with the air conditioning system such as mold and mildew build-up, possible water accumulation in the base of the walls, loose and missing insulation as well as ventilation problems.

    The firefighters are expected to move into a manufactured home that has been placed next to the firehouse by Thursday or Friday. But until then, they will continue to respond to calls from the headquarters - a decision fire officials said has not significantly altered response times.

    "Right now we're concentrating on response times in that area," Fire Chief Dan Gentry said. "We are working as fast as we can to get them back out there near the station. The level of service will remain the same."

    The average response time from Jan. 1 to July 11 was 5 minutes and 58 seconds, but from last Friday to Monday night, the average time was 6:29, an additional 32 seconds to the average response, according to Deputy Chief Bill Mallory said.

    "We've been lucky that the majority of calls for the station since Friday have been in the south and west parts of the response zone, where they are housed now," Mallory said. "We haven't had to drive past the station to respond to a call. The calls have been pointing them in the right direction."

    The workers were moved out of the fire station last Thursday, right after Johnson, Peoples Architects, P.A. submitted a summary inspection report to City Engineer Bruce Phillips. Indoor Environmental Technologies performed the inspection July 3.

    In addition to the other findings, the summary also noted the indoor humidity "seems to correlate with seasonal outdoor conditions," and that "ambient unconditioned outside air" was being drawn into the building through the ceiling and vents.

    Phillips said air, mold and carpet samples inside the station's living quarters were taken to a lab for testing. The final results and recommendations from IET are expected this week, he said.

    City officials said moving the firefighters out of the building was a precautionary safety measure and was not based on health risks.

    "The levels were nowhere near posing a health hazard, but we wanted to be overly cautious and eliminate the possibility," Mallory said.

    "The building is 11 years old. We've been dealing with issues with the building over the years and it kept getting more intensive as far as fixing it," Gentry said. "We're were just being proactive and moved our people out there."

    In the last couple of years, the station has undergone some repairs to its roof, ceiling tiles and insulation. Mallory said squirrels had begun eating into the insulation and forming nests in the attic.

    "It's get to the point where you keep doing repairs, but the problems just compound," he said. "We've tried doing some things to address the problems, but it's time for a permanent fix."

    City officials estimate it will take about six months to renovate the building.

    City Manager Susan Miller said she will probably present a recommendation to City Council by early August. "We'll have a ballpark figure once we know what actions and strategies we need to take to improve the building," Miller said. "We don't have the money currently in the budget, that's why the city has reserve for these unexpected conditions. We have adequate reserves for these kinds of unplanned events."

    Lashonda Stinson covers city government. She can be reached at [email protected]

    starbanner.com or 867-4129.
    09-11 .. 343 "All Gave Some..Some Gave ALL" God Bless..R.I.P.
    ------------------------------
    IACOJ Minister of Southern Comfort
    "Purple Hydrant" Recipient (3 Times)
    BMI Investigator
    ------------------------------
    The comments, opinions, and positions expressed here are mine. They are expressed respectfully, in the spirit of safety and progress. They do not reflect the opinions or positions of my employer or my department.

  • #2
    Is mold getting in more bldgs? Jackson Co. had mold in there newest bldg. and Dothan Al. had the same problem.
    Stay Safe ~ The Dragon Still Bites!

    Comment


    • #3
      I have heard of the problem from several different places, before I heard of OCALA. I looked for the stories, but could nto find them.

      A lot of it has to do with the high humidity and the HAVC Systems and no dehumidification process.......I think....
      09-11 .. 343 "All Gave Some..Some Gave ALL" God Bless..R.I.P.
      ------------------------------
      IACOJ Minister of Southern Comfort
      "Purple Hydrant" Recipient (3 Times)
      BMI Investigator
      ------------------------------
      The comments, opinions, and positions expressed here are mine. They are expressed respectfully, in the spirit of safety and progress. They do not reflect the opinions or positions of my employer or my department.

      Comment


      • #4
        Mold Strikes Another Department

        Mold chases firefighters from station

        Removal effort means sleeping quarters move



        By Matt Galnor
        Times-Union staff writer

        Half of the firefighters housed at one of the busiest stations in Jacksonville will be moved out and the rest will be sleeping in a mobile home while the city tackles a mold problem in the building.

        The City Council is expected to vote Tuesday to spend about $45,000 on a mobile home for the firefighters at Station 28 on Hogan Road off Southside Boulevard. Because of the urgency, the council will vote Tuesday and not follow its normal six-week process of debating the bill in committees.

        The city still is working on details of the deal, including whether to buy or lease the mobile home and how much it will cost, Councilwoman Suzanne Jenkins said.

        The ladder crew based at the station -- five people each of three shifts -- will be moved to another station while the problem is addressed, said Tom Francis, public information officer for the Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department. The other 15 firefighters, five each 24-hour shift, will be moved into the mobile home.

        Late last month, mold was discovered near a vent in the metal building, a former vehicle inspection station the city turned into a firehouse during the mid-1980s. The mold, which is inside the walls, may or may not be toxic.

        The only way to determine the extent of the damage is to start tearing down walls, which forces the firefighters to find a temporary home, said Bill Watson, chief of the Public Buildings Division.

        "You can't keep getting by on the cheap. This is what happens," said Jenkins, whose Southside district includes the station.

        Neither the Public Buildings Division nor the Building Inspection Division regularly inspect any public buildings, including fire stations, officials said.

        As soon as the firefighters are out of the building, city crews will start knocking downs walls to see just how bad the problem is, Watson said. Until the extent of the damage in known, the city won't know how long the mobile home will be needed nor how much removing the mold will cost, Watson said.

        For now, the city is only planning to move the sleeping quarters to the mobile home, Watson said. The fire department also is taking bids on wiring the mobile home with the radio dispatch equipment needed, in case city crews find the office also needs to be gutted, Francis said.

        The station's services area includes homes and businesses along Butler and Beach boulevards. Francis said it's among the three busiest stations in the city, which has 50 fire stations.

        "Everyone recognizes the importance of keeping that station in that populated of an area open," Councilman Jerry Holland said.

        Mayor John Peyton, who took office July 1, focused heavily on public safety during the campaign and earned the endorsement of the firefighters' union.

        "We've got to do what we've got to do as quickly as possible to make it a safe work environment for our employees," said Heather Murphy, Peyton's press secretary.

        Staff writer Matt Galnor can be reached at (904) 359-4550 or via e-mail at mgalnorjacksonville.com.
        09-11 .. 343 "All Gave Some..Some Gave ALL" God Bless..R.I.P.
        ------------------------------
        IACOJ Minister of Southern Comfort
        "Purple Hydrant" Recipient (3 Times)
        BMI Investigator
        ------------------------------
        The comments, opinions, and positions expressed here are mine. They are expressed respectfully, in the spirit of safety and progress. They do not reflect the opinions or positions of my employer or my department.

        Comment


        • #5
          Council Discusses Mold Issues

          Jacksonville


          ISSUE: Fire station mold

          What it means: Would spend $44,000 to buy a mobile home for firefighters headquartered at Station 28 on the Southside. City crews will be tearing the station apart to look for mold inside the walls. Half of the firefighters will be moved to another station and the rest will sleep in the mobile home. Once the station is repaired, the department plans to use the mobile home at other stations while renovations are being made. The council is voting on this bill as an emergency and, unlike the majority of bills, this proposal has not been discussed at council committees.
          09-11 .. 343 "All Gave Some..Some Gave ALL" God Bless..R.I.P.
          ------------------------------
          IACOJ Minister of Southern Comfort
          "Purple Hydrant" Recipient (3 Times)
          BMI Investigator
          ------------------------------
          The comments, opinions, and positions expressed here are mine. They are expressed respectfully, in the spirit of safety and progress. They do not reflect the opinions or positions of my employer or my department.

          Comment

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