More than 17,000 particles per million of penicillium mold at the main fire station on Boardman-Canfield Road are going to cost the township almost $20,000 to clear out.
An air test of the station proved the township has a safety hazard at hand; a reading of 5,000 particles per million is considered a hazard, Fire Chief George Brown said.
The basement of the station is where the mold is contained and sealed off by plastic. Also sealed off is the first floor. Each floor will be cleared and cleaned by ServiceMaster by Lewis Construction of Warren.
Water is believed to be the culprit for the common indoor penicillium mold growth, which can cause sinus problems, asthma and headaches. The chief is hoping the station will be cleared and cleaned by Friday. He received the results of the air tests a few weeks ago. He and others had to relocate because of the mold, which is affecting operations.
“The mold will come back and we will have to keep our eyes on it,” Brown said. “[It is] an ongoing problem for the fire department until we get a new station.”
It would be costly for the department to try to fix the water issue, Brown said.
“As long as the water comes in, the mold will recur,” Brown said.
This is not the first time the station has had mold issues. In 2006, the township paid a McDonald company $9,000 to clean two types of mold from the station. The highest levels were in the basement where water leaked.
Some of the firefighters at the time were complaining of allergy symptoms.
Township representatives are in discussion on the possibility and funds for a new station just as they were when the first mold problem happened.
“The township does need to do something about our fire station,” Township Administrator Jason Loree said.
The township recently hired MS Consultants for an amount not to exceed $12,000 to perform architectural services for a new station.
Loree said the township has looked at grants, but there are none for constructing a station.
The possible $2.5 million new station would remain in its central location because of the high call volume around the area.
Loree said officials are looking at “all kinds” of funding options.
Originally published by the Youngstown Vindicator and written by Kalea Hall.