From The Trussville Tribune staff reports
BIRMINGHAM — A comprehensive study for the presence of airborne mold and spores, asbestos and nuisance dust conducted at Fire Station 27 has been completed and the city of Birmingham will keep the station closed while actions are taken at the facility.
Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin met with members of Fire Station 27 on Friday, July 19, to discuss the results of the environmental sampling of the building and detail work that is underway.
Woodfin ordered the building closed last month due to employee concerns about the quality of the air inside. Bhate Environmental Associates Inc. did a comprehensive study from June 4 through June 8. Results from the study indicated that the “indoor air was not significantly affected by the presence of the asbestos-containing building materials or the air exchange between the bays.”
Bhate provided a list of recommendations, including the replacement of damaged ceiling tiles and a regular schedule of deep cleaning at the station.
Woodfin said based on Bhate’s findings and concerns expressed by employees, the building will remain closed as the city addresses the recommendations and additional steps at the facility.
“This station will remain closed and we’ll make sure we follow those recommendations,” said Woodfin. “Before we bring our firefighters back into this station, we want to make sure that their health is still our top priority.”
Those recommendations include:
- Removal and replacement of floor tiles
- Removal of HVAC tape on duct above the ceiling
- Replacement of damaged ceiling tiles
- Installation of a hood for the gas stove
- Ventilation systems in Bay 1 and Bay 2 will be updated as necessary
- The city will coordinate an initial deep cleaning
- Fire command staff will ensure that deep cleaning of the floors is part of routine cleaning at all fire stations
- Dormitory 2 will become a storage room only
Scott Morro, the attorney representing the firefighters, said he was pleased with the decision to keep the station closed.
“It’s very encouraging to see the leader of this city put his employees first and say the right things about fixing these buildings,” said Morro.
Morro said if the city would have opened the station before addressing the issues, he would have filed a restraining order. He said he is skeptical of the report on the air quality in the building because the samples were taken when the station was not active.
“We’re going to do some more looking into the matter and we’ll get with the mayor if we have any more concerns,” said Morro.
Fire Station 27 is located at 401 Huffman Road. It was built in 1956.