RIVIERA BEACH, Fla. — Months after a Riviera Beach fire station was deemed unsafe to work out of due to mold, firefighters who returned to Station 88 a month ago have now been moved again.
Last week, employees discovered some concerns in the air plenum that the air ducts run into at the fire station on Blue Heron Blvd.
"Behind those plenums which have been sealed since the build of the station, there was some concerns brought to the attention of fire administration," said Riviera Beach Interim Fire Chief John Curd.
The city had a professional consulting firm come in the next day and develop a plan for action, but said the crew could stay in the dormitory.
In March, firefighters complained of symptoms and at least nine tested positive for exposure to mold.
"We’ve had at least one employee who has been hospitalized," said Scott Bielecky, President of Professional Firefighters and Paramedics of Palm Beach County back in March.
Fire Station 88 was closed off, air ducts were cleaned out, and reconstruction took place. The city also began testing for mold at every fire station.
Curd said firefighters at Station 88 were allowed back into the building about a month ago. On Wednesday, staff discovered issues with the air plenum, and by Saturday, Curd said employees reported symptoms and an odor.
"There were people that said there was a little bit of eye irritation and some coughing. Not knowing what that was, and with everybody’s different levels of sensitivity, to me it didn’t matter what it was, if it was an issue for them it was an issue for me," added Chief Curd.
The crew at the fire station has been sleeping at other stations, but working out of the Blue Heron Blvd. station during the day.
“"During the day, to maintain response times in that zone, they are functioning out of the day-room side which is an independent side of the building. They function on two separate air conditioning systems, we know that side is clean and has been mitigated," said Chief Curd.
Station 86 on Singer Island was also built at the same time as Station 88. Chief Curd said the city is being proactive and has had contractors come out to Station 86 and check for the same issues discovered at Station 88. Contractors finished work there on Monday and are expected to finish work at Station 88 by late Tuesday or Wednesday.