Toxic mold shuts down Oregon City fire station - KPTV - FOX 12

Toxic mold shuts down Oregon City fire station

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Toxic mold found in a Clackamas County fire station forced the facility to temporarily close its doors and consequentially, could mean longer emergency wait times for those within Oregon City’s Hilltop District 16.

“That’s a concern to us,” Public Information Officer Steve Hoffeditz said Thursday. “What’s going to be affected a little bit more is evening time and weekends, with our fire engine being down the hill a little bit further.”

Medical response time should not be affected, according to Hoffeditz. The medic unit will be staying at the nearby Oregon City Police Department.

But the five firefighters on duty and the engine will be housed a few miles away at Station 15 for at least the next month, while the building is inspected and the mold is dealt with. 

Captain Andy Welks, who oversees Station 16, said he and some of his crew had been experiencing allergy-like symptoms for more than a month. 

"It was waking us up at night, and in the morning when we woke up we were really congested,” Welks said.

Then more recently they started noticing a bad odor in some of the sleeping quarters and offices.

“The best way to describe it - it smelled like grandma’s basement,” Welks said.

So they started tearing up the floors and found mold, and lots of it. The fire district might have to completely start over. 

“It could end up being where we have to literally take out the whole building down,” Hoffeditz said.

That would cost millions, and Hoffeditz said that money would likely come from a fire bond taxpayers passed last year. 

If the district discovers that the facility has to be shutdown for more than a month, it plans on adding a manufactured home to the property to house firefighters and bring back the engine.

Hoffeditz said safety of firefighters and the public they serve are top priorities.

About 7,000 people are within District 16's boundaries. 

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