Pinellas fire crews to evacuate firehouse because of mold

east lake

PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – East Lake Fire Station 57 could be the envy of other departments, except for one glaring problem. Mold is growing on the ductwork, lurking above the crew’s bedrooms.

The station’s slogan is “above and beyond.” East Lake Fire Chief Tom Jamison pointed out where spots of mold are festering in several places.

The mold was first noticed two years ago. The fire district tried to work out a solution with Hoffman Architects, and the contractor at the time, Peter R. Brown. “We’re to the point where the station needs to be closed for three or four months so that remediation and ultimately the repair can take place,” Chief Jamison said.

The plan is to put temporary quarters for the firefighters and offices for administrators in the building’s parking lots. Total costs could run as high as $350,000.

“Now we’re hoping through a mediation process, we’ll be able to reach some settlement so that the taxpayers won’t wind up footing all the bill” said Chief Jamison.

8 On Your Side discovered the original contractor, Peter R. Brown, sold out to another firm. The old office is cleaned out.

At Hoffman, in Tarpons Springs, the receptionist told told News Channel 8 the owner was not available.

So East Lake Fire is left to fight it out in court. “It’s frustrating, especially in a building that is the newest of our three fire stations. I’ve come to know more about moisture and mold than I care to,” Chief Jamison said.

Response times will stay the same because East Lake fire crews are responding to calls from the same location.

No firefighters have become ill because of the mold, officials said.

Regular air tests have come back negative.

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