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Firefighters do roving patrols with fire station closed

Firefighter health complaints led to the shutdown while the station is tested for mold

By Jim Lockwood
The Times-Tribune

SCRANTON, Pa. — Scranton’s East Mountain fire station will remain closed at least into the middle of next week until air-quality test results are received, but the department will conduct roving fire-engine patrols in that neighborhood for quick responses there if needed, Fire Chief Patrick DeSarno said Friday.

The firehouse was closed Thursday morning due to a mold problem, city Councilman Joe Wechsler announced at council’s meeting Thursday night.

Two firefighters complained Thursday morning about headaches and the station was closed as a precaution until air testing could be done, the chief said Friday. Results of tests conducted Friday morning should be received by Wednesday, he said.

East Mountain’s Engine 10 now is operating out of the downtown Fire Department headquarters Engine 4, he said.

The East Mountain station closure is a concern because of the remoteness of parts of East Mountain. In spring 2012, the Fire Department had a slow response to a fire at a house in East Mountain, where the fire station at that time had been closed. Immediately after that blaze, former Mayor Chris Doherty reopened the East Mountain firehouse.

During this East Mountain station closure, Engine 4 from downtown and Engine 2 from Gibbons Street at Pittston Avenue in South Side will periodically takes rides up into East Mountain to maintain a presence there, the chief said.

“They’ll be physically taking a ride up there, stop at the firehouse, do a loop around the mountain,” Chief DeSarno said.

“That’s about as best we can do until Wednesday. We can’t have as 24-hour presence (in East Mountain), but every so often they’ll take a ride up on the mountain. We’re going to do the best we can to be proactive and put a fire watch there (on East Mountain). We’re not going to sit down here and wait until something happens.”

The East Mountain station has suffered from “years of neglect ... (and) ongoing problems from a leaky roof,” the chief had said. Roof repairs also are being planned, he noted.


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