By SUE SUCHYTA
Sunday Times Newspapers
MELVINDALE – Mayor Wheeler Marsee called the City Council into a special meeting Jan. 25 to discuss the mold remediation at Fire Station 5 on Oakwood Boulevard, uncovered earlier that week.
While the city merged with the Dearborn Fire Department several years ago, Fire Station 5 remains Melvindale’s responsibility, and upkeep, including mold remediation and repairs, remains the city’s responsibility.
Marsee told the council members that while he could have approved the funds for Servpro’s work and the extra funding for the Department of Public Works, he felt it was important to bring them up to speed and include them in any speedy decisions, which the body approved.
They approved $10,000 initially for the Servpro work, and $5,000 for the DPW’s initial expenses to repair the mold damage caused by the water leak to the fire station.
Marsee noted that a fungal spore analysis of the air at Fire Station 5, performed by Environmental Testing Laboratories from samples taken the evening of Jan. 23, indicated that there was none of the deadly, feared black mold present.
He said the test results showed that there was light background debris of Penicillium and Aspergillus-like spores in the fire station furnace room, the women’s locker room, the kitchen and the fire station training room. The spores were not considered an issue at the levels measured.
Marsee said later in the week that Fire Station 5 was back in use by the evening of Jan. 27 while some building repairs continued to take place.
Marsee said the water leak that allowed the mold to form was from a hole in a pipe that was caused when a screw was drilled through the wall to hang a picture in the men’s sleeping quarters, and it nicked a pipe.
“There was probably a 4-foot by 2-foot section of the wall that was cut out by Mr. Kollmorgen (of the DPW) and replaced, and (they) replaced and fixed the pipe,” Marsee said. “When they opened that wall up, the water stream was visible as well.”
Maureen Winfree of Servpro said at no time was Fire Station 5 uninhabitable, and that her communications have been with DPW Director Larrie Ordus, and she had at no time spoken to the media.
City Manager Richard Ortiz reiterated that the fire station was not uninhabitable.
Deputy Fire Chief D.J. Begeman said the roof leak and the sewer line backups at the fire station were going to be addressed, as well, so the city does not find itself in a situation where another problem with Fire Station 5 allows mold to occur.
Ordus said one part of the Fire Station 5 roof has already been patched, and he has a company coming out to look at the entire roof.
“I don’t want to put all this money into a nice, beautiful kitchen, and have it start leaking on it again,” Begeman said.
Ordus said that none of the mold uncovered behind the walls was caused by a roof leak or the sewer back up. He said the water damage in the kitchen (non-mold related) was caused by a leak from the women’s shower room.