By SUE SUCHYTA
Sunday Times Newspapers
MELVINDALE – Mold found inside Fire Station 5, 3160 Oakwood Blvd., Jan. 22 has temporarily relocated firefighters and rescue rigs to the Recreation Center until testing and remediation is complete.
Mayor Wheeler Marsee said Jan. 24 that test results show elevated mold levels. The City Council is scheduled to meet at 10 a.m. Jan. 25 to discuss fire station issues, remediation and how to pay for it.
The removal of drywall as part of repairs following a Jan. 9 sewage backup at the station revealed mold on the interior of a wall. It is believed that the mold was caused by a previously unknown leak and was not caused by the sewage backup a few weeks earlier.
While some officials believe the leak may have been associated with the station’s laundry system, there is speculation that it might have been caused by a leakage which occurred following a building renovation, which took place after the department’s consolidation with Dearborn.
When the Melvindale Fire Department merged in 2013 with the Dearborn Fire Department, Melvindale’s Station 5, which previously lacked accommodation for female firefighters, was expanded to accommodate them.
The city owns Fire Station 5 and is responsible for its maintenance.
In a Jan. 23 press release from the city of Dearborn, it was stated that Dearborn Fire Chief Joseph Murray will request interior space for the firefighters at the Recreation Center, 4300 S. Dearborn St., until testing and remediation is complete, and the impact of the mold on the station’s environmental health is determined.
Once the mold was discovered Jan. 22, firefighters, on 24-hour shifts, attempted to sleep in their rigs, which were relocated outside of the station, to avoid exposure to the mold. On Jan. 23, firefighters were officially housed inside the Recreation Center. The rigs, normally housed inside the station, were kept running while exposed to the cold in the parking lot.
Marsee said on Jan. 23 that when the building was expanded following the consolidation with Dearborn, there is speculation that a leaking shower or another source of water leakage in the newly expanded section of the fire station might have created conditions which allowed mold to form behind the drywall, out of sight.
Marsee said Department of Public Works employees eventually will do whatever needs to be done to make the station fit for use again.
He also said that since Fire Station 5 belongs to the city, officials had a professional company inside the station to do the sampling.