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Report: Surface mold found at Columbia Fire Stations 2 and 6, not determined hazardous

The Columbia Fire Department has released the final condition reports from an outside firm after reports of possible mold inside Fire Stations 2 and 6 last month.

Nova Group said in its report for both stations that there were samples of surface mold were found but none are reported as hazardous or of concern. The group recommends the areas with surface mold be cleaned or removed.

It was also noted that both stations require cleaning along with the need for some "minor repairs."

The Columbia Fire Department and the City of Columbia said in a media release plans to work with ARSI, environmental and demolition contractors to contract professional cleaning at both Fire Station 2 and 6.

It was mentioned in both reports in the release that there are "currently no Federal standards regarding permissible levels of airborne fungi that may be present in buildings.

The firefighters from both stations have been temporarily staying at other fire stations. Columbia Fire Chief Clayton Farr Jr. hopes to get them back to their own fire stations as early as next week, once the stations professionally cleaned.

Due to the crews being temporarily displaced, that has resulted in longer emergency response times, but there have not been "significant" issues, according to Farr.

"Fortunately, we've not had significant issues or losses that are associated with that," Farr said. "However, with every second, every minute that there is a delay, there certainly is the opportunity for additional bad outcomes."

In photos taken by Nova Group in their investigation, it took notice of the lack of cleanliness, which may have been one of the reasons for the mold.

Farr said there are maintenance and cleaning procedures for firefighters. But Columbia Professional Firefighters Union President Zack Privette thinks Farr was "downplaying" the issue.

“Our staff doesn’t have time to remove ceiling tiles and go through and deep clean, you know what’s happening in the attic spaces or go through our systems," Privette said. "So I think, you know, the fire chief is downplaying this as a minimal ‘oh, there’s just some extra dust.’ And that’s simply just not true.”

Firefighters reported the possibility of mold to the administration on Oct. 1, but did not get a response until Oct. 17.

Article Topic Follows: Columbia

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Madison Stuerman

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