COWETA, Okla. — A second air quality test shows the Coweta Fire Department building has two different kinds of mold that have been causing health issues for some firefighters.
Coweta firefighters have been staying at a nearby hotel to limit exposure to the mold.
Pictures show what that mold looks like. Some moderate to heavy levels were found in sleeping quarters.
“It has gotten so big this time, or unhealthy this time, that as soon as we got the reports, we followed their steps immediately, the same day we got the initial report,” said Interim Fire Chief Brian Woodward.
The fire station was built in 1985. Woodward says minor issues have been known, and proper protocols were taken and tested; however, little fixes won’t work. Woodward says the mold is centered around the north wall of the fire station.
“My whole career here it’s always leaked, whether it’s a little leak or a lot of leaks. I don’t know if the amount of water getting through has this certain type of mold grow faster or larger. It’s not covering every wall, but it’s present you can see it.”
Pictures show mold growing in the kitchen area, day area, and sleeping quarters. An inspection report states some mold levers were six times higher than normal, inside where firefighters would normally sleep.
Woodward and other firefighters looked at three modular home designs to act as a temporary fire station. The idea is to have it behind the current station.
“We’ll be able to keep our apparatus in the bays and it’ll be a direct route from the home to the fire station,” said Woodward.
Because the price tag is up to $150,000 it must be approved by the city council. City manager Roger Kolman says he doesn’t have the authority to approve that expenditure.
An emergency meeting is expected as early as next week. The city is in the process of building a new fire station, but the project isn’t expected to be completed until 2024 or 2025.